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
Program Objectives

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

  • Foundation 1: Role of science in Decision Making
    • 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.
  • Foundation 2: Models of Natural Resource Management
    • 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.
  • Foundation 3: The Roles of Politics, Economics, and Social Issues in NRMP
    • 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.
Required Courses

Program Planning Guide »

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

More information (College Catalog) »


Paul Smith's receives five Best Colleges distinctions, including the No. 1 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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