The overall mission of the Department of Natural Resources Science is to conduct the highest quality research, teaching and outreach activities that address the science and management of natural resources. In pursuit of this mission, the Department uses a truly multidisciplinary approach to educate its students and to solve complex environmental problems. Additionally, the Department strives to achieve national and international excellence and recognition within its two primary focus areas: Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Environmental Science and Management. Within these focus areas we:

  • Educate students in fundamental principles and techniques necessary to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem integrity,
  • Conduct high caliber research to foster environmental quality and the sustainability of natural resources,
  • Convey this knowledge to our peers, decision-makers, and citizens, and
  • Accomplish our mission by using an integrative, interdisciplinary, multi-scale approach to address critical environmental issues facing society

Our faculty and staff work from a shared vision of achieving national and international prominence through:

  • Seamless integration of teaching, research, and outreach,
  • Recognition of the values and unique benefits provided by a diverse student body, faculty, and staff
  • The effectiveness of our graduates in advancing knowledge and solving environmental problems, and
  • The practical value of the research we do to enhance environmental quality and the sustainability of natural resources.

Commitment to diversity

The Department of Natural Resources Science promotes respect for and understanding of diversity in all aspects of society including diversity in race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. As a department, we strive for a diverse student body, faculty, and staff so that we may foster an experience rich in perspectives and opportunities to learn from each other. Towards that end, the faculty, employees, and students of Department of Natural Resources Science seek to:

  • Develop and sustain an increasingly diverse and inclusive community of learners;
  • Develop an appreciation for and understanding of the benefits of a multi-cultural perspective; and
  • Establish a set of policies, programs, practices, and resources necessary to achieve excellence, equity, and effectiveness in the research, teaching and learning, and outreach activities of the University.

Instructional objectives

The teaching mission of the Department of Natural Resources Science is to train students to become innovative, creative, environmentally responsible citizens who value learning, are effective leaders and communicators, and who apply their curiosity, knowledge, and skills to solve complex environmental problems. Our core courses use hands-on approaches, field and lab projects, and problem-based learning to ensure that students develop skills that can be used to resolve environmental issues and problems. Our curriculum requires that students integrate multiple scales of scientific inquiry (from molecules to ecosystems, soils to the biosphere), effectively communicate and translate their knowledge to a diversity of stakeholders, and use science-based solutions to solve environmental problems, promote alternative energy and a green economy, and advance environmental sustainability for the benefit of society. Students are partnered with NRS research scientists and extension specialists to ensure that the connection is made between their scientific knowledge and real-world application. Apprenticeships are used to connect students with environmental consulting firms and non-academic partner institutions in municipal government, state agencies, federal programs, conservation NGOs, land trusts, and conservancies to expand student’s learning experiences and foster long-term partnerships among the university, an emerging workforce, and the employers of environmental scientists.