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Environmental resources management

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What is environmental resources management?

Today’s environmental problems are increasingly complex and require a broad understanding of ecosystem management, which is what this major offers. You’ll develop critical skills and the expertise needed to manage environmental resources from different perspectives and orientations, such as forest resources, water, and environmental law and policy. You’ll also combine this knowledge with the hands-on experience demanded by current employers.

Learn more about this major and the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

What will I learn in this major?

Students majoring in environmental resources management take courses to fulfill major requirements in areas such as chemistry, forest ecosystems, forest soil and watershed management, forested wetlands, geology, and statistics. Additional coursework is also required in forest science, geospatial analysis, environmental economics, and natural resources policy.

More than 2,000 acres of forested land owned by Virginia Tech are available to faculty and students for research.

Why study environmental resources management at Virginia Tech?  

  • Students are required to enroll in Field Experiences in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, a two-credit, hands-on course involving field exercises that help students develop key skills in navigation, mapping, taking inventory, resource conservation and management, timber harvesting, and forestry operations. Watch a video of students in action at Fishburn Forest.
  • A study abroad trip can take you to Panama as part of the Issues in Natural Resource Conservation course, where you’ll learn about natural resources management and conservation issues, the impact of climate change on tropical environments and culture, and local, regional, and international impacts of tropical deforestation.
  • Research opportunities for undergraduates are available through programs such as the Conservation Management Institute’s Undergraduate Research Fellows. Recent projects involve carbon density and wildlife viability, American chestnut growth, amphibian fungi, and the spread of walnut tree blight.
  • Departmental faculty conduct research in the following areas: economics and policy, ecosystem science and management, human dimensions of natural resources, genetics and biotechnology, geospatial analysis and biometrics, operations and business, urban forestry, and water resources.
  • Service-learning opportunities are available to sites like Australia and New Zealand, where students learn about ecological restoration and resource conservation, and assist local community groups with long-term projects in these areas.
  • The 1,353-acre Fishburn Forest, which is located only 10 minutes from campus, provides space for teaching and research activities.
  • Latham Hall, on the Virginia Tech campus, houses laboratory and research space such as the Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, Forest Tree Nutrition Laboratory, and soil and plant preparation facilities.
  • Minors are available and encouraged in forestry, urban and community forestry, recreation, and watershed management. You might also be interested in one of the Pathways minors such as biodiversity conservation, ecological cities, pathways to sustainability, or blue planet. The addition of a minor will give you in-depth expertise in one of these fields so you can pursue a passion and stand out in the job market.
  • Student clubs and organizations such as the Forestry Club and the Wildland Fire Crew provide an opportunity to connect with others with similar interests and get involved on campus and in the community.

What can I do with a degree in environmental resources management?

Graduates in environmental resources management may enter the job market or pursue a graduate degree in the field. Career possibilities are listed below, and potential employers include the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, state and local parks, land management agencies, environmental consulting firms, civil engineering firms, and conservation nonprofit organizations.

  • Environmental consultant — Assesses air, land, and water contamination.
  • Environmental resource manager — Manages the interaction and impact of human societies on the environment, and finds innovative management solutions for businesses and government clients.
  • Forester — Plans, maintains, and preserves forests and forest resources for public agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Hydrologist — Applies scientific knowledge to solve water quality and availability problems.
  • Nonprofit environmental organizer — Compiles and analyzes data on environmental reports for nonprofit organizations.
  • State staff forester — Leads forestry teams, guides forest management work, and communicates with different agencies and organizations.
  • Sustainability coordinator — Works to help make a business or educational institution run as efficiently as possible, limit its impact on the environment, and reduce costs.
  • Wetlands manager — Conducts activities in and around wetlands in order to protect, restore, and manage these areas for a variety of uses.
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