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History of the College:

Although the college was not officially established until 1992, its roots were present in Virginia Tech’s history as early as 1925, when the first professor of forestry was hired. In 1938, the first Bachelor of Science degrees in conservation and forestry were offered in the Department of Biology. By 1969, the Department of Forestry and Wildlife had become the fastest growing department on campus, and the department became part of the College of Agriculture. In 1974, it split into the Department of Forestry and Forest Products and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences.

By 1975, a School of Forestry and Wildlife Resources was established. This school became an official university college in 1992, named the College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources. In 2000, the college changed its name to the College of Natural Resources. To better reflect the college’s increasing focus on sustainability and environmental issues, the college became the College of Natural Resource and Environment in 2010.

Enrollment by Major (in 2011):

CNRE is currently the smallest college at Virginia Tech, providing students the benefits of a small community within a large university. We make great efforts to offer the majors, options, and courses that our students want, and we have recently added new majors and options, such as meteorology and marine sciences. In CNRE, we are recruiting the best and brightest students to join our undergraduate and graduate programs.

Undergraduate students: 640 students total

Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation:

  • Forestry = 71
  • Natural Resources Conservation = 89
  • Environmental Resources Management = 37

Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation:

  • Fisheries Science = 62
  • Wildlife Science = 149

Department of Sustainable Biomaterials:

  • Wood Science and Forest Products = 64

Department of Geography:

  • Geography = 162
  • Meteorology – starting in 2012
Graduate students: 261 students total
  • Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation: 35 MS + 34 PhD = 69
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation: 32 MS + 20 PhD = 52
  • Department of Sustainable Biomaterials: 3 MS + 12 PhD = 15
  • Department of Geography: 22 MS + 14 PhD = 36
  • Masters of Natural Resources: 89 MS

Research (in 2011):

Research funding in 2011 was at a record level for the college — $14.2 million for 256 sponsored projects. Some recent projects include:

  • Dr. Tom Fox secured a Fulbright Scholars Award and spent 6 months in Chile working with cooperators on carbon management via pine plantation research.
  • Dr. Jason Holiday secured the largest NSF Career Award in our history for his genetics work on species adaptation to a changing climate.
  • Drs. Jim Fraser and Sarah Karpanty are the lead PIs on a large project to examine the impacts of the Deep Horizon oil spill on coastal wetlands and habitat for the migrating piping plover shorebird in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Conservation Management Institute has completed a large project to map the coastal wetlands for the USGS.
  • A faculty team in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation secured a USDA NIFA grant to study the impacts of changing climate on the Southern pine forest.
  • Dr. Scott Renneckar garnered a USDA NIFA award to study light-activated bonding of lignocellulosic material.
  • Dr. Kathleen Alexander discovered a new species of tuberculosis-causing Mycobacterium.
  • Sarah Webster, a senior in the University Honors program majoring in wildlife sciences, was recognized as an ACC Undergraduate Research Scholar for her project titled: “The impact of sustainable logging on jaguars in Belize.” Her faculty mentor is Dr. Marcella Kelly.

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

Celebrate with Us

Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017


Select a Major

We have 11 majors for you to choose from with over 10 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.