NOTICE: Nature Center Closed for Maintenance

The Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center is currently closed for maintenance and is not open to the public. Entry to the nature center by students, employees or the community is not permitted at this time.

General Description

LADELL BROTHERS OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER: The 20-acre Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center is located on the campus of North Florida College in Madison, Florida. The sign at the entrance reminds us that all animals and plants are protected by law. While there is no admission fee, contributions to help maintain the environmental center are always welcome.

Habitat diversity includes a black gum-red maple swamp, marsh area, a 4-acre pond, spring fed stream, deciduous woods, pine woods, campus grasslands, and a planted field. Over 200 species of organisms…plants from violets to hickory trees…and animals from the gray fox to plant mites have been sighted or identified. Habitats, animals, plants and their interactions may be observed by walking the loop trail system at the Center.

NFC Nature Center The physical structure of the picnic area includes three (3) picnic stations (each with a barbecue grill, table and trash can), one large rain shelter, bench seats for groups of up to 70 and directional signs. Three loop trails, collectively over one and one-half miles in length, begin and end at the picnic area. Low areas, streams and the lake are bridged with boardwalks and platforms. Rest rooms are available at the NFC Library (Bldg. 4) during college business hours.

Picnic Area Uses

The Center is often used as an environmental study area for the surrounding school districts served by NFC. Reservations for field trips can be made by calling (850) 973-1613. Two weeks' notice is required for field trip reservations.

NFC Nature Center The general public is invited to use the Center for small group picnics and group tours by reservation; and individual uses, such as photography, constitutionals, bird and wildlife observations, plant identification and painting. Please call in advance for group reservations.

For a pleasant trip, wear comfortable clothing and flat walking shoes, use insect repellent, and follow all the rules.

NEW! Great Florida Birding Trail Site

NFC Nature Center
The Ladell Brothers Center has recently been named as a site for the Great Florida Birding Trail and is linked to The center is open from dawn to dusk and has a variety of birds present. Loaner optics are available in the NFC library during the week and Sunday afternoons, as well as at the adjacent Madison County Public Library on Saturdays.

[The Madison County Public Library is located at the western edge at the front of NFC's campus]


NFC Nature CenterLocated on the north end of North Florida College's campus, on US 90, 1 mile west of downtown Madison. Turn at NFC's main entrance. Park in visitor spaces at the Administration Building #3 or in front of the NFC Library and receive specific directions to the Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center at the NFC Library [Building #4].

  1. Guests to the nature center are asked to observe the following rules:
  2. The Center is open from sunrise to sunset.
  3. The Center is open to groups through reservation by calling (850) 973-1613.
  4. An adult must accompany persons under 18.
  5. Smoking is permitted in the picnic area only.
  6. Fires are limited to grills. Please use charcoal and extinguish before leaving.
  7. Stay on the trail, especially to avoid poison ivy.
  8. The trails are for walking only. Leave vehicles and bicycles outside the Center.
  9. No camping, hunting, fishing or collecting plants or animals are permitted.
  10. Walk carefully – roots on trails; boardwalks slippery when wet.
  11. Take only pictures…and only leave footprints.
  12. Move slowly and quietly...enjoy your experience with nature.


The Outdoor Environmental Center was conceived in the fall of 1972 and gradually became a reality through state grants, local donations, and the hard work and dedication of the College faculty and student body. In 1978, the Center was renamed the Ladell Brothers Outdoor Environmental Center in honor of Shelby Ladell Brothers (1934-1972), Director of Campus Services of North Florida Junior College. Brothers began his NFJC career in 1967 as the Director of Landscape and Instructor in Horticulture. The Center’s main entrance, located in the northwest part of campus, leads to the picnic area, which is the beginning and end of a series of nature trail loops. The main purpose of the Center is to serve as an outdoor classroom for the pursuit of environmental education. It is also available for recreational uses and was named an official Great Florida Birding Trail site in 2003.