• faculty and students in stream

You like the outdoors, right? Then you’re going to love this place. Northland College has a location like nowhere else on Earth. We are surrounded by a million acres of forest and the largest freshwater lake in the world. These amazing natural resources are right outside our doors and serve as living laboratories and natural playgrounds.

Expect to get out often as part of your classwork in natural resources. You will be working closely with faculty who will immerse you in the wildlife, fisheries, forests, wetlands, streams, and lakes of this northern ecosystem. You will have experiences tracking wolves, monitoring streams, tagging fish, and researching plants and climate change in the Apostle Islands—and then teach you how to analyze the data back at the lab.

You will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate effectively, manage resources, and solve problems. Classes are small enough for in-depth field activities, data analysis, and group projects such as developing a management plan.

You will get the ecological, economic, policy, and management foundations necessary to use, protect, and enhance natural resources, preparing you for careers in government, tribal agencies, not-for-profit organizations, or the private sector and for graduate school.

Our graduates go on to do the coolest stuff—from mitigating ecological impacts of climate change in Antarctica to managing fires out west to studying sharks in South Africa, and everything in between.

Areas of study as an emphasis:

Ecological Restoration
With ecological restoration you get a rock-solid foundation in the synthesis of geology and biology and the importance of understanding the natural history of ecosystems. We will teach you the practical nuts-and-bolts of designing and implementing restoration plans—and give you a client to work with. This project integrates theory and practice in plant communities, design concepts, assessment techniques, and prescribed fire. You will graduate ready to apply your education to real-world challenges and to make a difference by working to restore the habitat, species diversity, and ecological integrity to degraded ecosystems. See Ecological Restoration Emphasis course list.

Fisheries & Wildlife Ecology
Fisheries and wildlife ecology will prepare you for a career studying and managing wild populations of animals for multiple uses. At Northland, you will learn the basics while studying populations of wolves, flying squirrels, sharp-tailed grouse, trout, and sturgeon, to name a few. Our courses and lab work cover anatomy, physiology, genetics, and ecology, so you’ll know your animals inside and out. Our intensive Field Techniques class provides a month of hands-on, outdoor learning and collaboration with local wildlife and fisheries professionals. We also emphasize the human dimensions of managing animal populations and the interests of different stakeholder groups. See Fisheries & Wildlife Ecology Emphasis course list.

Forestry
Forestry is more than trees. Way more. A Northland College forestry degree will take you beyond conventional forestry to becoming a skilled leader and thinker in this field. The modern forester needs to be fluent in the biological, ecological, social, and economic worlds, to understand how trees and forested ecosystems work, and how forests interact with other Earth systems. You will learn about the interconnectedness of forests, human society, and culture from a historic to modern land ethic viewpoint while exploring the past, present, and future role of forests as a commodity that can provide potentially renewable and sustainable raw materials, fuels, sources for recreation, clean water, diverse habitat, carbon sequestration, and more. In four years, you’ll be ready for a future in ecological restoration, scientific monitoring, wildland fire, private or governmental land management, environmental policy and law, traditional and alternative timber products, or preparation for postgraduate degrees. See Forestry Emphasis course list.

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Where Natural Resources Can Take You