National Great Rivers Research & Education Center (NGRREC)

Site and Interpretive Design

Alton, Il

Surrounded by two acres of restored pre-settlement landscape, the NGRREC Field Station is the headquarters for research scientists to study the Mississippi River watershed.  The complexity of the environment at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers creates a unique platform for interaction between scientific research and public education.

Terra Design Studios collaborated with NGRREC terrestrial ecologists and educators to design the interpretive gardens and outdoor visitor experiences that showcase the inter-connections between the flora and fauna of the watershed.  Re-creations of the oak-hickory forest, oak-barrens, floodplain, bluestem prairie, wet prairie, and regionally unique bluff prairie support education programs for audiences ranging from school groups to university interns.  In order to amplify the interpretive experience for the drop-in visitor, Terra developed the “cue-duo”, a partnership between themed sculpture and well-crafted interpretive panels.  Each “cue-duo” carries its own message and sculptural flavor meant to capture the intrigue of a diverse audience, especially families.

The Field Station is the result of a successful partnership of the University of Illinois, Lewis and Clark Community College, Illinois Natural History Survey, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


  • AAIC
  • Formations Inc.
  • Sheppard Morgan & Schwaab, Inc.

Visit the Education Center