You’ll learn from passionate ecologists dedicated to hands-on, practical approaches. With connections to numerous natural resources agencies, the program provides frequent opportunities for resource professionals to interact with our students in classes, on field trips, and in training, through internships and paid, local jobs.
Western serves up a rich diversity of coursework for our small size. In addition, our Thornton Biology Undergraduate Research Program (BURP) helps the most engaged students deepen their experience and gain skills, working closely with faculty mentors, while earning research stipends.
What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?
The Ecology Emphasis helps you build knowledge and skills, starting in your freshman introductory courses. From that foundation, you add more sophisticated and applied skills as you move through the program.
You’ll learn in a field-based ecology lab that focuses on scientific methods, from experimental design to communication and numerous field techniques. You will gain the technical background and skills needed to communicate with scientists and resource managers.
You’ll learn field techniques, such as vegetation monitoring, stream assessment, radio telemetry, GIS, mapping and compass work, animal and plant identification by sight and sound, and even more diverse approaches to measuring populations, communities and ecosystems.
Beyond the Classroom
Research, service learning, adventure education, applied experiential field trips, connections with professional biologists, and fun social events help comprise the rich culture of our co-curricular program.
Western's Biology students participate in two primary clubs: the Tri Beta Biology Club and the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society. They hold biweekly meetings throughout the year and organize field trips, fundraising events, and social/educational events.
Students work with the local community through a variety of service projects. They also build connections with local offices of natural resource agencies, which offer opportunities for service and field experience, such as trapping bighorn sheep, assisting with the annual kokanee salmon spawn, electroshocking and sampling fish, and volunteering at the Gunnison Sage Grouse Watchable Wildlife site.
Our budding biologists also work with agency professionals in workshops on applying for federal jobs and writing resumes, obtaining a hunter safety cards, learning to fly fish, learning basic avian taxidermy and more.