Natural Resources

Bachelor of Science (BS)

"UMC has done a better job of preparing students for
natural resources work than any college I've seen!"
--Paul Swenson, former regional director, Minnesota DNR

If you have an interest in conservation, science, and nature, let the great outdoors become your classroom at University of Minnesota Crookston. You'll be prepared for a rewarding career managing our natural resources for current and future generations. Natural Resources is a broad program involving resource conservation and recreation to balance the needs of people and the sustainability of ecosystems. Students choose an emphasis that matches their conservation interests: Ecological Restoration, Natural Resources Aviation, Natural Resources Law Enforcement, Natural Resources Management, Park Management, Water Resource Management, or Wildlife Management.

Key Features

Key Features

students in the NatR Club in kayaks

"Duck Banding" - Wildlife Ecology and Management Lab

Completed by UMC Natural Resources students at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in September 2017

"Prescribed Burn" (done by students) at the Pankratz Prairie Area Near Crookston
UMC Natural Resources students learn prescribed burning techniques that help manage and control fires or to achieve other environmental purposes. Prescribed burning is conducted under a certain set of environmental conditions to achieve a specific goal. Typically prairies are burned about every four years to rejuvenate the vegetation and enhance wildlife habitat.

"Bear Den Visit at Camp Ripley" (Student Project)
Video by Joshua Jensen, natural resources major.

Program Requirements & Curriculum

Program Requirements & Curriculum

To view the current Natural Resources, BS curriculum, visit our catalog site:
View Natural Resources, BS curriculum

The Natural Resources major offers seven areas of emphasis:

  • Ecological RestorationEcological restoration is the processes of repairing ecosystems that have been damaged due to human or natural influences.
  • Natural Resources AviationThis emphasis leads to careers as natural resource pilots employed by state/federal agencies.
    (note: UMC also offers a major in Aviation with areas of emphasis in Agricultural Aviation and Law Enforcement Aviation)
  • Natural Resources Law EnforcementThis emphasis provides integrated instruction in natural resources management and law enforcement.
  • Natural Resources ManagementThis emphasis provides an integrated approach to land use and the conservation of wildlife, fish, forest, and recreation resources.
  • Park ManagementThis emphasis provides an integrated approach to park and recreation area management.
  • Water Resource ManagementCourses in natural resources along with agriculture, geology, soils, fisheries management, water quality, and land use planning provide a background focused on water resources.
  • Wildlife ManagementThis emphasis concentrates on wildlife and habitats. The major focuses on land and wetland habitats and their animal associates with some emphasis on fisheries management.

student holding a bear cub

Associated Clubs & Organizations

Careers

Careers

The average salary range for positions within this major was between $23,900- $57,000 yearly, depending on experience and location. For a list of detailed salary trends within this field, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects significant growth in renewable energy and environmental jobs through 2018.

The bachelor of science degree in Natural Resources prepares students for a variety of career paths based on the emphasis they choose:

Natural Resources Aviation Careers

This emphasis prepares students as natural resource pilot-biologists employed by state, federal and private agencies such as:U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Forest Service
  • State Departments of Natural Resources
  • Private consulting firms
  • Wilderness pilots working in remote areas

Natural Resources Law Enforcement Careers

This emphasis prepares students for positions with Federal, State, County or Local Agencies such as:U.S. Department of Homeland Security Logo

  • U.S. Border Patrol
  • U.S. Customs Services
  • F.A.A. Inspectors
  • U.S. Sky Marshals
  • State, county, and local law enforcement agencies

Natural Resources Management Careers

This emphasis prepares students for land management positions with:Elk

  • County soil and water conservation districts
  • State and federal natural resource agencies
  • Private land reclamation firms
  • Game farms and hunting preserves

Park Management CareersPeople walking across a bridge at national park.

This emphasis is designed for students interested in a career in:

  • Municipal, county, state, or national park management
  • Entry-level positions may include working as a technician or aide in order to obtain the experience required to advance to a higher management position.

Water Resource Management Careers

This emphasis prepares graduates for careers with:View of a creek during summer.

  • The U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Watershed districts
  • Hydrology branches of state natural resource agencies
  • Soil and water conservation districts
  • Private surveying and consulting firms

Wildlife Management Careers

This emphasis prepares graduates for careers with:The wildlife society

  • State and federal wildlife and land management agencies
  • Private resource management firms
  • Advanced degrees (e.g., master of science) are often pursued by students seeking advanced career placement

Other Career Resources

U of M, Crookston Career Services - <link>Natural Resources job opportunities

Student Stories

Student Stories

maggie gibbonsU of M Crookston graduate Maggie Gibbons is someone extraordinary. She loves talking about Harry Potter, playing soccer, and is passionate about animals. Gibbons graduated fall semester of 2017 earning her degree in natural resources with an emphasis in management and a minor in biology. She grew up in Grand Rapids, Minn., and came to Crookston with several things in mind: nature, academics, soccer, and the feeling of home. Learn more.

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Desariah Santillanez with Dan Svedarsky

Assistant Professor Matt Simmons and his students heated things up during their first lab of the semester. Simmons had his Habitat Restoration class out to the Pankratz Prairie area near Crookston for a prescribed burn. Among the students taking part in the burn was Desariah Santillanez, a junior majoring in natural resources from Bellvue, Colo. Learn more.

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Shane Boehne

Natural Resources major Shane Boehne grew up in Henderson, Minn., a rural community with diverse wildlife. At a young age, his interest developed, leading him to study natural resources at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC), with emphases in wildlife management and ecological restoration. Boehne exudes passion for wildlife and learning, all while having a radiantly positive attitude throughout his school endeavors. Learn more.

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Bailey Yliniemi with Lisa Loegering

Bailey Yliniemi, a recent graduate and natural resources major from Detroit Lakes, Minn., was named the UMC Student Volunteer of the Year for 2016-17. In the past year, she volunteered a total of 1,484 hours. Last summer, she volunteered at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Kodiak, Alaska, working on the Kittlitz’s Murrelet where she volunteered 1,140 hours. She is the president of the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society through which she has banded ducks, bud capped trees, surveyed owls and goshawks, cut brush, and planted trees. She is also an active member of the Natural Resources Club and Golden Ducks Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. Learn more.

Maggie Gibbons

One way to describe Maggie Gibbons, Cohasset, Minn., is busy.  She’s a full-time student, a part of the Study Abroad Club, the Hospitality Association, and she is a student manager at the Evergreen Grill at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  The one thing Gibbons is never too busy for is her passion for animals. The wildlife management and biology double major has been put her passion to use while interning for the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota.  Her area of focus has been the World of Birds Show working with raptors and other exotic bird species.  She assists in cleaning, diet preparations, bird training, and works the shows. Learn more

Gyalto "Abu" Gurung & Tashi Gurung

Seniors Gyalto "Abu" Gurung & Tashi Gurung, are environmental science and natural resources majors at the University of Minnesota Crookston talk about their experience in "Handling the Earth with Care"PDF File Icon  from the Spring 2014 version of the Torch magazine

Jenny DuBay

Senior Jenny DuBay, an natural resources wildlife management major at the University Minnesota Crookston talks about her experience in "Born to be Wild"PDF File Icon  from the Spring 2014 version of the Torch magazine. 

Matt Toenies

Senior Matt Toenies, an natural resources major at the University of Minnesota Crookston talks about his experience in "Especially For the Birds"PDF File Icon  from the Spring 2014 version of the Torch magazine.

Lisa Gentele, a 2010 graduate of the University of Minnesota Crookston from Omaha, Nebraska, earned her bachelor's degree in natural resources. In this video she talks about her experience on the Crookston campus and about her involvement in the various student organizations relating to natural resources and sustainability.

Jeffrey Wilson

Jeffrey Wilson, '09, natural resources park management major, talks about his study abroad experience in the mountainous island of Tasmania and his plans for after graduation. Read "Outback Living"PDF File Icon in the Summer 2009 version of the Torch magazine

Matt Brinkman

Matt Brinkman, '09, natural resources wildlife management major currently works as a predator biologist for the Natural Resources Office at San Clemente Island, 70 miles off the coast of California. Read his story "Island Living and Learning"PDF File Icon in the Summer 2010 Torch magazine.

Erick Elgin and Chris Waltz

Erick Elgin '09 and Chris Waltz '09, natural resource majors, led an effort in 2009 that resulted in a new residence hall, Evergreen Hall, that became certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This certification verifies that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures.  Read more of their story "Here Today, Here Tomorrow"PDF File Icon in the Spring 2009 version of the Torch magazine.

Videos - Students in the field

Videos - Students in the field

"Duck Banding" - Wildlife Ecology and Management Lab
Completed by UMC Natural Resources students at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in September 2017

"Prescribed Burn" (done by students) at the Pankratz Prairie Area Near Crookston
UMC Natural Resources students learn prescribed burning techniques that help manage and control fires or to achieve other environmental purposes. Prescribed burning is conducted under a certain set of environmental conditions to achieve a specific goal. Typically prairies are burned about every four years to rejuvenate the vegetation and enhance wildlife habitat.

"Bear Den Visit at Camp Ripley" (Student Project)
Video by Joshua Jensen, natural resources major.

The UMC Advantage

The UMC Advantage

Small Campus. Big Degree.

Did you know a degree from the University of Minnesota is recognized all over the world? True story. As a system campus of the University of Minnesota system, the U of M Crookston offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources—all in a smaller, more personal campus setting that’s very much like a private school. The University of Minnesota is internationally recognized and respected by not only intellectuals and academic movers and shakers, but major employers who want to hire the best and brightest—namely, you.

Learning and Doing

At the U of M Crookston, you won’t spend all your time behind a desk. Our curriculum is designed around experiential learning, which means we want you to have as much hands-on learning as possible. Depending on your major, you’ll find opportunities to be in the field, the lab, the classroom, or engaging in simulated scenarios that give you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce or head to grad school. You’ll learn the concepts and then actively apply them through projects, field trips, site visits, internships, and interactions with professionals in the field.

Caring Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff members are respected not only for their knowledge and skills, but also because they care about you as an individual. They serve as true mentors, offering personalized attention through small class sizes, a student-faculty ratio of 18:1, and by working closely with you as advisors. They take the time to welcome you to the UMC community, watch you grow as a leader and scholar, and help you connect with alumni and other experts.

A Technology-Rich Environment

At the U of M Crookston, we offer every student a laptop computer from day one. Everyone is tech-savvy, wi-fi is everywhere and learning happens in many ways, including simulations, applications and video presentations. It’s a virtual tech-topia! So, when you graduate, you’ll have all the latest technology skills, giving you a competitive edge. Employers consistently report the UMC graduates they hire are their “go to” people for technology and are well prepared for the demands of today’s technological workplace.

Internships, Job Placement and Grad School

More than 87% of U of M Crookston graduates gain full-time employment in their field or enroll in graduate or professional school within one year of graduation. That’s a fact. We’ll sure miss you when you graduate, but we know as a proud Golden Eagle alum, you’ll want to come back to cheer us on at homecoming or catch up with your favorite professors.

Internships. They’re a great way to earn college credit, add to your resume and help answer the question, “is this really what I want to do?” You can find internship opportunities with everyone from the business down the street to Fortune 500 companies. Or maybe grad school is in your future. U of M Crookston students get the educational requirements and resources they need to apply to an array of graduate programs from veterinary science to med school to an MBA program. Many go on for more education in a variety of other fields.

Opportunities for undergraduate research also add real value to your educational experience by allowing you to design and conduct research while working alongside faculty mentors. Research experience is especially helpful if you plan to attend graduate school.

One-Rate Tuition and Scholarship Options

Whether you live in Minnesota, just across the border, across the country, or on the other side of the ocean, you pay the same tuition rate, and the U of M Crookston’s tuition rate is a real value because it’s the lowest of the five campuses that make up the U of M system. Additionally, with merit-based scholarships guaranteed based on GPA and ACT scores and more than 300 specialty scholarships, we really do help make college affordable.

Leadership, Clubs and Athletics

Sure, college is about classes, studying, and research, but another important part of the experience involves professional development, creativity, leadership, and service. And let’s not forget about fun! With more than 40 student clubs and organizations, there’s something for every interest. Best of all, if you can’t find something from the existing list, grab a few friends and start a new club. It’s really just that easy…

In athletics, Golden Eagles shake things up on the court, the field, and on the sidelines. The U of M Crookston competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) as well as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and offers a full range of men’s and women’s athletic programs.

A Diverse, Global Experience

The world really is a small place, and at U of M Crookston we value diversity. Our students bring rich experiences spanning six continents, and more than 20 countries and 40 states! We value diversity because it not only helps you better understand the world, it helps you understand yourself and how your piece fits into the puzzle of global society. Get involved in the many multicultural and international programs on campus, and you’ll see how easy it is to make friends from across the world.

Or choose one of our international programs. Study, intern, volunteer, play, explore – here or anywhere. Take your pick from more than 300 options in 67 countries. Don’t just learn it, live it.

On-Campus Faculty

On-Campus Faculty

Associate Professor
(218) 281-8130
M.S.
Lab Services Coordinator
210-A Owen Hall
(218) 281-8131
UMC Photo Not Available
Teaching Specialist
(218) 281-8393
Professor
(218) 281-8132
Ph.D.
UMC Photo Not Available
Senior Lecturer
(218) 281-8370
Ph.D.
Associate Professor
(218) 281-8141
Ph.D.
Professor (retired), Emeritus
(218) 281-8609
Ph.D.

Awards & Recognition

College Factual Top 5% for Most Focused in Natural Resources and Conservation Award Badge
Awards given to UMC Natural Resources Students Logo
College Factual Top 10% Nationwide for Non-Traditional Students Award Badge
College Factual Top 5% Nationwide for Gender Diversity Award Badge
Niche Award Badge for 2018 Best Colleges
Best 4-Year Colleges in Minnesota award badge

Related Majors, Minors & Programs...

Interested in a double major or minor to complement your Degree? Check out these other programs at UMC: