Integrative and Public Land Management Track

Faculty & Staff

Western is the ideal place for an education in integrative public lands management, with 82 percent of Gunnison County being public land.

The Program

The Integrative & Public Land Management (IPLM) track focuses on ecological foundations, cross-boundary management, building resilient social and ecological systems, and navigating the complex realities of project management. Students immerse in applied projects, field experiences and a self-designed, 600-hour master’s project; they leave prepared for careers in public lands management, private lands conservation and conservation advocacy.

The MEM faculty have extensive experience working for conservation nonprofits, environmental consulting companies and agencies. These practical experiences inform their approach to teaching, their mentorship style, as well as providing networks students can tap for their future careers. Our faculty help students find their niche in land management.

Why Western? 

The MEM takes full advantage of the abundance of public land in Gunnison County where diverse ecosystems, natural resources, participation in conservation easement agreements and enthusiastic community partners abound. Our faculty have interests ranging from ecology and wildlife biology to recreation management and geography, and bring a wealth of connections with local, regional and national environmental organizations. MEM students are immersed in a matchless outdoor laboratory with true experts in lands management guiding them along the way.

More than 90 percent of our graduates are employed in an environmental position either prior to or immediately following graduation at organizations such as:

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Park Service
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Teton Science Schools
  • Jeffco Open Space Parks and Trails
  • Crested Butte Land Trust


Western’s IPLM track was created in response to interviews with federal and local agencies, nonprofit executive directors and environmental consultants who identified the skills and experiences they wish to see in their employees. In-demand skills that you will acquire in the program include:

  • Understanding how to analyze and manage social and ecological systems
  • Applying scientific knowledge and methods to environmental management questions
  • Navigating complex and challenging problems with diverse stakeholders
  • Transforming land management institutions to respond better to social and ecological change