Natural Resource Conservation and Management

Learn to work in a multifaceted management environment that integrates the ecological, social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of natural resources management.

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Provide leadership to communities as they adapt to changing economic conditions while maintaining ecological integrity
  • Implement best practices in strategic planning, development of organizational missions and design and implementation of evaluation/monitoring programs
  • Apply principles of sustainability to solve problems across political boundaries
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration and public participation around resource-based issues
  • Create and maintain effective working partnerships under a range of socio-economic conditions
Key Facts

As a freshman you will have a variety of courses directly related to your major. In your first semester you’ll learn about the management of the Adirondack Park (the largest park in the continental U.S.); meet with natural resource professionals from forest rangers to climate change specialists; become acquainted with the ecology of the region; learn to identify plants and animals; navigate in the forest and understand the complex and unique ecosystems that make up the Adirondacks. In short, you’ll learn by getting your boots muddy and your paddle wet!

As a senior you will complete a Capstone Course. Some Capstone Research Projects students have presented:

Career Options
  • Conservation Officer
  • Environmental Technician
  • Naturalist
  • Environmental Law
  • Community Planning
  • Resource Policy Analyst
  • Natural Resource Manager
Courses & Objectives

At the end of the program students will be able to:

  • Explain the historical role and value of science in policy formation designed to protect, maintain, and restore natural and human altered environments.
  • Articulate the differences between inductive and deductive methods of scientific inquiry as each pertain to gaining reliable knowledge.
  • Teach students to articulate complex scientific and social issues into a language which is useful and meaningful to the general public.
  • Explain the implications of the relationship of cumulative environmental impacts on the resilience of ecosystems, biomes and the biosphere.
  • Apply basic principles of sustainability to problem solving across political boundaries.
  • Delineate the management environment in ecological, economic, political, and socio-cultural terms.
  • Define the cyclic management process as related to an organization’s mission statement, strategic planning, assessment, implementation, and evaluation/monitoring program.
  • Articulate the appropriateness of sustainable management models or approaches used to address resource management issues.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of management and communication needed to work effectively with stakeholders in integrated natural resource management teams.
  • Articulate the role of the political process in affecting change in policy and regulations at local, state, national and international scales.
  • Develop evaluation and monitoring techniques which facilitate social and economic tenets in the management process.
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration and public participation around resource-based issues and define steps to create and maintain effective collaborations under a range of social-economic conditions.
  • Apply adaptive management approaches to increase the capacity of human communities to change with economic conditions while maintaining ecological integrity.

Sample courses:

  • Intro to Environment and Society
  • Conservation Law Enforcement
  • Dendrology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Natural Resources Economics
  • Sustainable Development
  • Environmental Impact
  • Ecology
  • Watershed Management

More program information and a full course list can be found in the College Catalog. For program planning sheets, click here.

Paul Smith’s receives five U.S. News Best Colleges awards

Paul Smith's receives five Best Colleges distinctions, including the No. 2 ranking for Most Innovative Schools. Continue reading »


“Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Nate Favreau knows Paul Smith’s College. From 2005 – 2006, he worked in the forestry tool room on campus and at the sugar bush…” »

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