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Field Experiences

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Expand your field of study—and your comfort zone

Your academic journey in CNRE will take you well beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. And our kind of field experiences will indeed take you into the fields — as well as the forests, labs, rivers, and streams.  Field experiences offer the chance to apply what you are learning in the classroom, try out cutting-edge technology, and just prove to yourself that you can do it.

Hokie Storm Chasers go after the ultimate field experience

Every spring, Hokies have the opportunity to learn about severe weather forecasting by traveling across the Great Plains to intercept severe/tornadic thunderstorms and collect data. CNRE alumna Kathryn Prociv, a weather producer at NBC News, often joins the Virginia Tech team for a portion of the chase. You can follow the storm chasers on Facebook and Twitter.    

Put your skills to the test in Wildlife Field Techniques

Bat Research

Orienteering lab. GPS, remote camera, and bat detector training. Radio telemetry lecture. Bird capture techniques. Surveys for “herptiles. Capture workshop including drop nets and dart guns. All are just part of the curriculum for  Wildlife Field Techniques. A 10-day field experience is the culmination of this spring semester course, which will teach you the skills you’ll use in the field and then give you a chance to practice what you’ve learned at the Mountain Lake Biological Station.

Seven students standing side by side on a snow-covered mountain peak.

Other classes that take you into the field

Some of your major classes will have field experiences that are built into the curriculum. You’ll learn about core concepts and ideas, and essential tools and technology. Then you’ll get the chance to work on projects that let you put the skills and knowledge you’ve learned into practice. Below is a sampling of these courses:

  • In Green Building Systems, you’ll learn the concepts of building green and then take on projects like designing and building sustainable housing units.
  • In the Rocky Mountain field course, you’ll learn about weather systems and meteorology while negotiating the challenges of high altitudes.
  • In Climate Change and Societal Impacts, students applied classroom knowledge to real-world case studies by developing recommendations to mitigate flooding in three communities.
  • As part of Field Experiences in Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation (FREC), you’ll be surveying land boundaries, orienteering, trying your hand at timber harvesting, and more.

Get involved to find new avenues for adventure

Academic classes and activities aren’t the only way to get field experience; there are also plenty of student clubs and organizations in CNRE and beyond that give you the chance to practice academic skills and get career experience. You could help plan the annual Mudbass Tournament, represent Virginia Tech at Timberbeast, or meet industry professionals at the Packaging Jamboree.

Students attend the Packaging Jamboree speaking with employers at their booths.