Our purpose is to provide students with the basic principles of the physical and biological sciences and the application of those principles to the earth environment. In addition to introducing basic scientific and environmental topics, we strongly emphasize developing the skills needed to understand, assess, predict and mitigate important environmental issues and problems. Goals of the environmental science major include preparing students for (1) advanced graduate studies; (2) immediate employment at the bachelor's level; (3) responsible citizen participation in a world where environmental concerns and decisions are bound to become increasingly important. Students may choose to specialize in the biological, chemical, or geological aspects of environmental science.
Practical techniques and applications, including field experiences, research and internships are encouraged. We provide contacts, and frequently direct support (financial and otherwise), for qualified students who wish to acquire practical experience by (1) participating in original research, (2) assisting in ongoing research and educational projects, (3) obtaining part-time employment and experience with environmental agencies, firms and organizations, (4) attending professional meetings and symposiums, and (5) taking advantage of related opportunities. Such activities help make the public and potential employers aware of what we can offer, improve the outlook for our students, and provide financial aid for our majors.
A great and growing need for qualified individuals exists in this field. Nearly all reviews of future employment prospects include environmental work among the major long-term needs. Some of the areas where individuals trained in environmental sciences are currently needed are: (1) consulting companies, engineering firms, planning boards, government agencies and international organizations (United Nations, World Bank, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, etc.) are among those seeking qualified graduates to work on practical (real-world) environmental and resource issues; (2) the demand for qualified teachers (from grade schools to graduate programs) with strong environmental interests and backgrounds is high in virtually every field of the natural sciences, social sciences, and technology; (3) pollution control experts are in great demand in nearly all industries; and (4) employees capable of conducting risk evaluations, environmental site assessments and related activities are urgently needed in many businesses, including the legal, insurance, banking, real estate, industry and regulatory fields.
Faculty and Facilities
The Alderson-Broaddus Environmental Science program aims to be demanding, rewarding and truly interdisciplinary. Currently involved with the program are faculty with special interests in such diverse fields as wildlife biology, aquatic ecosystems, hydrogeology, natural hazards, computer applications, global environmental problems, reclamation, caves and karst, water resources, and population dynamics.
The environmental science major is new, and students will have a unique opportunity to help give it form and direction. You will be able to work closely with faculty, participate in field trips and special projects, and be given individual consideration not feasible in large and established programs. We are currently developing an interpretive nature trail through the forests on campus and have a very active science club. Once a month, the Natural Science Division faculty offers a popular (and free) luncheon for all science majors.
The Natural Science Division now offers, or is capable of offering, courses in such areas as wildlife ecology, aquatic organisms, surface and ground water resources, environmental pollution, energy and mineral resources, mammalogy, geomorphology, land conservation, weather and climate, environmental health, biodiversity, and hazardous wastes.