Environment & Sustainability

Western's Environment & Sustainability program helps students understand and address environmental problems. Pairing small classes with the vast classroom of the southern Rockies, Environment & Sustainability combines interdisciplinary courses in the natural sciences, environmental politics, environmental writing, environmental sociology, environmental economics and environmental ethics.

Environment & Sustainability students learn to understand ecological systems, analyze the environmental and social impacts of societies, and experiment with sustainable solutions to those impacts.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

The Environment & Sustainability program fosters leadership in sustainability and effective environmental citizenship through a network of student-led projects. Central to the program is the development of interdisciplinary, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills by: 

  • Applying the knowledge and research methods of natural sciences to understand and analyze environmental problems and solutions. 
  • Implementing social-science findings and frameworks to address local, national and global environmental issues.  
  • Employing the insights of environmental history, literature and ethics to make better decisions concerning environmental impacts and resources.
  • Some students take an extra step toward real-world effectiveness with a coordinated double major in Business and Environment & Sustainability.

Beyond the Classroom

Our inspiring Rocky Mountain location provides one of the best learning laboratories in the world. The Environment & Sustainability program integrates three kinds of learning laboratories:

  • The diverse ecology and geology of the Rocky Mountains -
From deep canyons (including Black Canyon National Park) to alpine peaks, Western is surrounded by a world-class laboratory for field-based environmental study.
  • Public lands comprise some 85 percent of the area surrounding Western Colorado State University. The Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, National Forest Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife and several non-profit environmental groups maintain offices in Gunnison. Western students learn from and help manage projects with these organizations.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Environment Sustainability Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
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  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at http://www.western.edu/catalog. To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.

 ENVS 100 - INTRO TO ENVIORNMENT SUSTAINBILITY (3 credits)

An interdisciplinary, historical analysis of the development of environmental problems, movements, and philosophies. Students apply historical lessons to critically examine sustainable solutions locally and globally.

 ENVS 200 - WRITING THE ENVIRONMENT (3 credits)

Students develop communication skills through presentations and writing on a variety of environmental issues appropriate to a wide variety of audiences. Through environmental essays, writing for nonprofit websites, grant proposals, and other forms of environmental writing, students are introduced to a broad range of skills needed for effective communication. Focus throughout the course on the analysis of arguments and texts further develops students' analytical and communication skills. Prerequisite: ENVS 100; COTH 202 is recommended.

 ENVS 301 - SCIENCE OF SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE (3 credits)

A holistic inquiry into how humans might live the next chapter of our history, guided by the ecological principles of sustainability and resilience. Environmental problems and their possible solutions are analyzed critically and quantitatively; field experiences on campus and in the community involve students directly in the application of these principles. Themes include sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, and conservation and restoration. Prerequisites: BIOL 130, BIOL 135, PHYS 125

 ENVS 350 - US AND WESTERN ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS (3 credits)

An historical and contemporary investigation of U.S. environmental policies with an applied focus on the impact of national policy on the ecosystems and cultures of the American West. Reciprocally, this course traces how public lands agencies, social movements, historical land uses, and diverse cultures in the West shape U.S. environmental policy. Students combine analysis and discussion of major U.S. policies, prominent theories and issues, and student-led environmental service projects to better understand environmental challenges. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ENVS 200 or COTH 202;and ECON 370.

 ENVS 360 - GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY (3 credits)

A critical examination of key perspectives, economic and political processes, policy actors, and institutions involved in global environmental issues. Students analyze ecological, cultural, and social dimensions of international environmental concerns and governance as they have emerged in response to increased recognition of global environmental threats, globalization, and international contributions to understanding of these issues. The focus of the course encourages students to engage and evaluate texts within the broad policy discourse on globalization, justice, and the environment. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201, ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

 ENVS 370 - WATER POLICY AND POLITICS (3 credits)

Study of the history, politics and institutions related to water policy and administration with comparative reference to different regions of the United States and internationally. Attention is given to the industrial development of the East and the created water resources of the arid West as a way to understand changing social sentiments toward water and water policy. The course also examines water pollution laws and water management. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201 or ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

 ENVS 373 - THE WATER PLANET (3 credits)

An advanced water science course specifically designed for students interested in water related environmental science and policy. Topics include the physical and chemical properties of natural fresh waters and the movement and reservoirs of fresh water within the water cycle. The course includes several hands-on exercises and field experiences where students investigate and analyze natural waters in the Gunnison Basin. Prerequisites: GEOL 101; GEOL 105 and one of the following: CHEM 101 or CHEM 111

 ENVS 375 - SEMINAR IN WATER TOPICS (3 credits)

An occasional offering that may include water topics in politics and policy, ethics and philosophy, or science. Prerequisite: ENVS 200 and ENVS 301, or instructor permission.

 ENVS 376 - COLORADO WATER WORKSHOP (1 credits)

A three-day annual conference bringing students together with a variety of water users, managers, ranchers, environmentalists, regulators and others involved in water issues for presentations and discussion on matters ranging from specific municipal or water district projects to major basin-wide planning for the great rivers of the West to global issues of water use and protection. Topics vary from year to year. Prerequisite: ENVS 350 and ENVS 370, or instructor permission.

 ENVS 390 - ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING (4 credits)

A field-work based study of local (Gunnison Basin) environmental problems. Numerous monitoring techniques are implemented based on principles of biology, chemistry, and geology. The emphasis is on collaborative and integrative group projects dealing directly with real-world environmental problems. Prerequisites: ENVS 301 and one of the following: ECON 216, MATH 213 or SOC 211.

 ENVS 397 - SPECIAL TOPICS, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY ( 1-6 credits)

Special topics

 ENVS 400 - APPLIED SUSTAINABILITY (3 credits)

A field-based, collaborative, problem-solving experience that addresses a current issue in environmental sustainability. Implementing frameworks such as resilient and systems thinking, students collect information, analyze results, write a report, publicly present their findings, and begin to implement solutions informed by their analysis. Students learn basic skills for transforming their ENVS education into compelling environmental professional career possibilities. Prerequisites: ENVS 350 and ENVS 390.

 ENVS 410 - ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3 credits)

A seminar on the complexities of environmental issues from a philosophical perspective. The course also offers a survey of the evolution of environmental moral philosophy as well as in-depth analysis of major thinkers in the field. Students confront ethical concerns from both historical and personal perspectives, with an emphasis on the ability to critically evaluate and apply these perspectives to their work in environmental fields. Prerequisite: ENVS 301 and 350; or PHIL 335.

 ENVS 420 - NATURAL HISTORY OF GUNNISON BASIN (3 credits)

An overview of place-based natural history, current ecological research, and current environmental issues facing the region. Prerequisites: ENVS 100 and instructor permission.

 ENVS 430 - WATERSHEDS OF THE WORLD (3 credits)

This field course is designed to provide students with an introduction to important science and policy issues in selected watersheds throughout the world. Students receive an overview of place-based natural history, current ecological research, and current environmental issues and policy facing the region. Examples include the local and global effects of resource extraction, tourism, air and water pollution, land use changes, and global climate change. This is an expedition course (approximately 3 weeks) and is experiential in nature. Prerequisites: ENVS 100 and instructor permission.

 ENVS 497 - SPECIAL TOPICS, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY ( 1-6 credits)

Special topics

 ENVS 499 - INTERNSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL AND SUSTAINABILITY ( 1-6 credits)

An opportunity to apply skills and knowledge from course work to an employment setting. Prerequisite: approval from an Environmental Studies advisor and the Program Director.

 ENVS 601 - INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (5 credits)

An introduction to the MEM program, to bioregional and resilient approaches to environmental management, and to the environmental stakeholders, problems, solutions, and learning laboratories of the Gunnison Valley. Requires two-week residency in Gunnison during culmination of course. Prerequisites: Admission to the MEM Program.

 ENVS 605 - SCIENCE OF APPLIED ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

Provides a rigorous and hands-on overview of the principles and methods of environmental science. Students gain practical experience with a range of laboratory, field, and analytical approaches, with a focus on current environmental research in the Gunnison Basin. Topics include water quality, riparian condition, rangeland monitoring, forest health, threatened and endangered species, air quality, conservation, and ecological restoration. Students develop skills in scientific literature searches, writing monitoring protocols, ensuring quality data collection, databasing, statistical analysis, interpretation of results, written and oral communication, and peer review. Prerequisites: ENVS 601.

 ENVS 608 - ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS AND POLICY (3 credits)

Analysis of the key interactions between environmental policy and management, focusing on environmental decision-making within an array of policy contexts. Emphasis is on important federal policies such as the Clean Water Act and NEPA, with additional attention to relevant state and local policies. Prerequisites: ENVS 601

 ENVS 611 - INTEGRATIVE SKILLS IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

Course focuses on developing and managing environmental projects and organizations. Students develop a thorough understanding of integrative assessment, adaptive management, and triple bottom line strategies. Students apply these approaches to the development of professional skills such as organizational development, conflict management, and environmental communication. Prerequisites: ENVS 601

 ENVS 612 - QUANTITATIVE SKILLS IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An overview of a range of quantitative analytical methods and statistical approaches essential to environmental management careers in both Integrative Land Management and Sustainable and Resilient Communities. Topics covered include descriptive and inferential statistics, databasing, geographic information systems, and graphic presentation of results. Course empowers students to organize, analyze, and graphically present environmental data. Prerequisites: ENVS 601 and an undergraduate-level course in statistics.

 ENVS 615 - SCIENCE OF CLIMATE MITAGTION ADAPTATTION (3 credits)

An investigation of the science of climate change, with an emphasis on mitigation and adaptation strategies for careers in environmental management. Students will develop an understanding of the principles of atmospheric and earth sciences that form the scientific basis of climate change and survey the large body of evidence of anthropogenic warming. Topics include greenhouse gas emissions, climate forcings and feedbacks, observed and projected climate changes, effects on ecological and human systems, and the opportunities and challenges of a diverse suite of strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local, regional, and planetary scale. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; two undergraduate courses in natural or environmental sciences, one of which must be upper-level with LABORATORY/field component.

 ENVS 616 - ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An introduction to developing organizations at the nexus of economic, social, and natural systems, and to the key skills necessary to succeed in this complex and highly competitive environment. Course discusses competitively advantageous strategies and practices organizations adopt to grow revenues, cut costs, improve market share, enhance brands, and redesign products and processes toward positive environmental and social impacts. Course examples will include sustainable innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship from around the world. Students learn to identify the best opportunities, generate innovative non-profit and for-profit business models, frame and reframe problems, produce creative solutions, and generate a culture of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship within an organization utilizing principles from a variety of thinking methods including systems, design, and group thinking. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; ENVS 611

 ENVS 618 - PUBLIC LANDS MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An exploration of the current and traditional approaches to public land and resource management. A regional focus on the Western U.S. is integrated with comparative examples from other regions and countries to enhance and broaden student perspectives. Course examines the history and future management implications of public lands agencies and policies, such as the National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, NEPA and multi-use mandates. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; ENVS 611

 ENVS 620 - STUDIES IN SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to cultivating sustainable and resilient communities. Topics include subjects such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Energy Futures, Sustainable Economic Development, Movements in Community Resilience, and Frameworks in Sustainability. This course is repeatable, since students are required to take this course three times, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 601

 ENVS 625 - STUDIES IN INTEGRATIVE LAND MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to cultivating sustainable and resilient communities. Topics include subjects such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Energy Futures, Sustainable Economic Development, Movements in Community Resilience, and Frameworks in Sustainability. This course is repeatable, since students are required to take this course three times, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 601

 ENVS 690 - MEM PROJECT DEVELOPMENT (5 credits)

An introduction to the Materas Project. Course examines environmental project design strategies, successful environmental solutions, and organizations/community stakeholder groups seeking environmental management assistance from MEM students in the master's Project. Students design, plan, and coordinate second year masters' Project with faculty mentors and community stakeholders. Requires two-weeks residency in Gunnison during culmination of course. Prerequisites: MEM Core

 ENVS 694 - MASTER'S PROJECT AND PORTFOLIO (3 credits)

Students design and apply a specific research and environmental management project to an active environmental organization, green business, land agency, or community stakeholder group. Requires students to develop a lens and goal for environmental management; identify a project that enables the student to manifest his/her environmental management goal; research global best practices for similar projects; complete the project over 10 months; write up, present, and defend the results for the faculty mentor and MEM community; and complete an environmental career portfolio. Course spans Fall (3 credits) and Spring (6 credits) of the second year, and requires 9 total hours. This is a repeatable course for variable credit. Prerequisites: ENVS 690.

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship

Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship is Available to:

Students who have demonstrated community involvement with environmental solutions, academic excellence and a dedication to mountain environments which could encompass recreational activity, personal connection, or service.

Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

Jim and Dianne Mahaffey.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application: Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 240

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Martin, Mike Memorial Scholarship

Martin, Mike Memorial Scholarship is Available to:

Environment & Sustainability majors who have a GPA of 3.0 or above. Preference will be given to a resident of Crested Butte, Colorado. If no applicants meet this requirement, preference will be given to a resident of Gunnison, Colorado. If no applicants meet the criteria, applicants must be a resident of Colorado.

Environmental & Sustainability Scholarship Provided by:

The Michael Martin Community Fund.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application: Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 108

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Nauman, James D. Environmental Stewardship Scholarship

Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship is Available to:

Full-time students majoring in Environment & Sustainability with a minimum of 30 credits at Western. Must have made a significant contribution towards environmental stewardship while at Western. Students must demonstrate academic achievement and progress towards ENVS major.

Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount: Award depends on funds available (Anticipated award $500).

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application: Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 108

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship - Freshmen

Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship (Freshmen) Available to:

Must have applied and been admitted to Western State Colorado University and have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a degree in Environment & Sustainability. Must be enrolled full-time. Preference given to students with financial need.

Freshmen Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount: Award depends on funds available. (Anticipated award $500.00)

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application: Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 108

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship

Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship is Available to:

 Full-time students who are majoring in Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology or a related field. Must be junior level (60 credits) or above and have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Preference given to students with financial need who are residents of the Western Slope of Colorado and have expressed interest in a career in park operations/park management or a career in the earth sciences.

Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

Barbara Kastellic and gifts from others to honor Joseph, who was the first Superintendent of the Black Canyon National Monument from 1975-1984.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Application: Complete and submit The Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship application which is available in the Office of Financial Aid. A recommendation and a one page essay will be needed to complete the application.

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: (970) 943-3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability
Ph.D., Iowa State University, B.A., Hope College
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability, and Sustainable & Resilient Communities MEM Coordinator
BS, University of Colorado Denver, MBA, University of Houston, PhD, University of Colorado Denver
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.A., James Madison University, M.S. University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D. (ABD) Environmental Studies University of Colorado Boulder
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Assistant Professor in Biology and Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Biology, University of California–Santa Cruz, 1995, Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005
Phone: (970) 943-2565
Office Location: Kelly Hall 105
Senior Lecturer in Recreation and Outdoor Education
B.A., John Carroll University; , M.S., Western Illinois University
Phone: (970) 943-2115
Office Location: Wright Gym 222
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.S., University of Denver, M.S., University of Colorado Denver, Ph.D., Colorado State University
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114B
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Stanford University, MFA, University of Idaho
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114B
Professor and Director of the Master of Environmental Management Program; Professor of Env Sustainability & Philosophy; Director, Headwaters Project
B.A., Western State Colorado University; , M.A., St. John's College; , Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 107
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability, and Integrative Land Management MEM Coordinator
B.A., University of Colorado, M.S., Colorado State University, Ph.D., University of Alaska
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 106
Associate Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., Humboldt State University; , M.F.A., University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Phone: (970) 943-3052
Office Location: Taylor Hall 212E
Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education, Recreation and Outdoor Education Program Coordinator
B.S., University of New Hampshire; M.A., Harvard Graduate School of Education; Ph.D., University of New Hampshire.
Phone: (970) 943-2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability, and Biology
B.S., Winona State University, M.S., University of Minnesota Duluth, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Phone: 970.943.2024
Office Location: Kelly Hall 114
Director of Environment & Sustainability, Assistant professor of Environment & Sustainability, Director of the Colorado Water Workshop
B.A., Wartburg College; , M.A., University of Nebraska-Omaha;, Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3162
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Professor of Anthropology
B.A., University of Colorado; , M.A., Ph.D., University of Minnesota.
Phone: (970) 943-2062
Office Location: Hurst Hall 31C
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.S. Colorado State University, M.S. Colorado State University
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability and MEM Global Coordinator
B.A., University of California San Diego, Ph.D. Purdue University
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley hall 114A