Ecosystem Management and Conservation Specialization

This specialization gives students the knowledge and skills to become thoughtful stewards of the environment, to ensure that human and nonhuman species can coexist across landscapes.

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    Note that a capstone course used to fulfill the MEM capstone requirement cannot also be used toward fulfilling an MEM Specialization requirement; a capstone course taken once cannot be used to fulfill multiple requirements. Learn more about YSE capstone courses by visiting the MEM Capstone page.

    Program Courses

    Core

     Two courses required.

    Course 1

    Choose one of the following 2 courses. The Goal of Core I is a strong foundation in natural science theory in relation to conservation and land stewardship 
    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 646
    Regenerative Agriculture Systems
      Wood Wood
    Tentative
     
    ENV 752
    Ecology and Conservation of Tropical Forests
    Harris
    M,W 10:30-11:50
             

    Course 2

    Choose one of the following 2 courses. The Goal of Core II is a strong theoretical foundation in sociology and environmental anthropology as it relations to conservation and land stewardship.
    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 764
    Sociology of Sacred Values: Modernity, Ecology, and Policy
    Farrell
    Th 9:00-11:50
      Farrell  
    ENV 839
    Power in Conservation
      Carpenter   Carpenter

    Elective

    Four required courses. Students must take at least one course from each of the following four bins:

    Social Science Principles

    The Goal of the Social Science elective is to apply social science principals to applied conservation topics or issues. It is typical to take these courses after fulfilling your Core 2 requirement. Substitutions are allowed with specialization coordinator permission.
    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 573
    Urban Ecology for Local and Regional Decision Making
    Grove
    W 1:00-3:50
      Grove
    Tentative
     
    ENV 605
    Environmental Risk Communication
    Schwarz
    Th 2:30-5:20
      Schwarz
    Tentative
     
    ENV 618
    Anthropology of Smallholder Agriculture in Developing Countries
    Carpenter
    Tu 1:00-3:50
      Carpenter  
    ENV 685
    Engaging Landholders and Communities in Conserving and Restoring Tropical Forest Landscapes
      Garen   Garen
    Tentative
    ENV 740
    Understanding Environmental Philanthropy: Funding, Financing, and Grant Writing
    Taylor
    Tu,Th 1:00-2:20
      Taylor
    Tentative
     
    ENV 742
    Fundamentals of Working with People
      DeCew   DeCew
    Tentative
    ENV 759
    Power, Knowledge, and the Environment: Social Science
    Dove
    M 1:00-3:50
      Dove
    Tentative
     
    ENV 796
    Biopolitics of Human-Nonhuman Relations
      Dove   Dove
    ENV 951
    Strategic Environmental Communication
      Leiserowitz   Leiserowitz

    Natural Science Principles

    The Goal of the Natural Science elective is to natural science principals to applied conservation problems and topics. It is typical to take these courses after fulfilling your Core 1 requirement. Substitutions are allowed with specialization coordinator permission.
    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 586
    Fisheries & Aquaculture
      Freidenburg   Freidenburg
    ENV 610
    Managing Ecosystems for Climate Change Solutions
    Brando
    Tu,Th 1:00-2:20
      Brando  
    ENV 634
    Ecology of Global Drylands
      Lauenroth        
    ENV 659
    The Practice of Silviculture: Principles in Applied Forest Ecology (Friday field trips)
      Ashton   Ashton
    ENV 660
    Forest Dynamics
    Duguid
    Tu,Th 10:30-11:50
      Duguid  
    ENV 692
    Science and Practice of Temperate Agroforestry
    Orefice
    M 2:30-5:20
      Orefice  
    ENV 709
    Lectures, Discussions and Applications of Soil Science
              Bradford
    ENV 713
    Coastal Ecosystems
                   
    ENV 723
    Wetlands Ecology, Conservation & Management
    Freidenburg
    Tu,Th 9:00-10:15
      Freidenburg  
    ENV 744
    Conservation Science and Landscape Planning
      Schmitz   Schmitz
    ENV 745
    Global Human-Wildlife Interactions
    Harris
    M,W 2:30-3:45
             

    Quantitative Analysis

    The Goal of this elective is to give you exposure and applied skills to applications and methods used by conservation professionals and scientists. Understanding the analysis and interpretation of quantitative data is a crucial skill for solving environmental problems. Substitutions are allowed with specialization coordinator permission.
    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 603
    Environmental Data Visualization for Communication
    Queenborough
    M,W 9:00-10:20
      Queenborough  
    ENV 617
    Real World Environmental Data Science
      Grewal   Grewal
    Tentative
    ENV 726
    Observing Earth from Space
      Lee   Lee
    ENV 728
    Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis in the Environmental Sciences
            Reuning-Scherer  
    ENV 730
    Environmental Data Science in R: Introduction to Data Integration and Machine Learning
    Malone
    Tu 2:30-5:20
      Malone  
    ENV 748
    Wildlife Movement and Migration under Global Change Scenarios
    Harris
    Tu 2:30-5:20
             
    ENV 753
    Regression Modeling of Ecological and Environmental Data
    Gregoire
    M,W 10:30-11:50
      Gregoire  
    ENV 755
    Modeling Geographic Space
      Tomlin   Tomlin
    Tentative
    ENV 756
    Modeling Geographic Objects
    Tomlin
    Th 1:00-3:50
      Tomlin
    Tentative
     
    ENV 757
    Data Exploration and Analysis
    Faculty
    Tu,Th 9:00-10:15
    Faculty Faculty Faculty
    ENV 758
    Multivariate Data Analysis in the Environmental Sciences
      Reuning-Scherer   Reuning-Scherer
    ENV 762
    Applied Math for Environmental Studies (AMES):Foundations for Measuring and Modeling Environmental and Socio-environmental Systems
    Fenichel
    M,W 10:30-11:50
      Fenichel  
    ENV 781
    Applied Spatial Statistics
      Gregoire   Gregoire

    Environmental Policy and Economics

    The Goal of this elective is to apply the social science principals of political science and economics to applied conservation topics or issues. Substitutions are allowed with specialization coordinator permission.
    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 639
    Food Systems and Climate Services
    Hernandez-Aguilera
    Tu,Th 10:30-11:50
             
    ENV 641
    Market-Based Mechanisms for Water Management
    Kruse
    Th 1:00-3:50
      Kruse
    Tentative
     
    ENV 642
    Environmental Justice/Climate Justice
    Torres
    M,W 10:30-11:50
      Torres
    Tentative
     
    ENV 760
    Conservation in Practice: An International Perspective
      Vedder   Vedder
    Tentative
    ENV 795
    Nature as Capital: Merging Ecological and Economic Models
      Fenichel   Fenichel
    ENV 821
    Environmental Policymaking: From Local to Global
    Sanford
    M,W 10:30-11:50
      Sanford  
    ENV 824
    Environmental Law and Policy
      Klee   Klee
    ENV 834
    Environmental Economics and Policy
      Kotchen   Kotchen
    ENV 852
    Food Systems & US Environmental Law
      Lehner        

    Additional Electives

    In addition to the two required courses and the four electives, students may select additional electives to complete the requirements for the MEM degree. Additional electives that may support students’ focus area in the Ecosystem Management & Conservation Specialization are listed below.  

    Course Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Fall 2025 Spring 2026
    ENV 620
    History of Environmental Thought and Activism
      Taylor        
    ENV 644
    Coastal Environments in a Changing World
    Decker
    Tu 12:00-4:00
      Decker
    Tentative
     
    ENV 677
    Ecological Restoration
              Duguid
    ENV 683
    Seminar in Tropical Forest Restoration
      Ashton
    Tentative
      Ashton
    ENV 686
    Synthesizing Science for Policy and Practice
    Bradford
    M 9:00-10:20
      Bradford  
    ENV 694
    Invasive Species: Ecology, Policy, and Management
      Duguid        
    ENV 712
    Water Management
    Anisfeld
    M,W 1:00-2:20
             
    ENV 725
    Water, Energy, and Food Interconnections in a Changing Climate
      Saiers        
    ENV 767
    Tools for Conservation Project Design & Management
      Vedder   Vedder
    Tentative
    ENV 817
    Urban, Suburban, and Regional Planning Practice
    Kooris
    W 4:00-6:50
      Kooris
    Tentative
     
    ENV 836
    Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development
    Faculty
    W 1:30-3:20
      Faculty
    Tentative
     
    ENV 892
    Introduction to Planning
    Faculty
    M 9:00-11:50
      Faculty
    Tentative
     
    ENV 954
    Management Plans for Protected Areas (includes Friday and Saturday Field trips)
    Ashton
    M,W 1:00-2:20
             
    ENV 956
    Strategies for Land Conservation
      Gentry   Gentry
    Tentative
    ENV 971
    Land Use Clinic
      Bacher   Bacher
    Tentative
    ENV 975
    Western Lands and Communities Field Clinic: Research to Practice
      Farrell        
    ENV 991
    Advanced Climate, Animals, Food, and Environment Law and Policy Lab
                   
    Ecosystem Illustration

    Learning Community

    There is a corresponding “Learning Community” for each specialization, where anyone interested in the topic can find related news, spotlights, colleagues, and events.

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    Faculty Coordinator

    Staff Manager

    Michelle Downey

    Michelle Downey

    Program Director, Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative; Staff Manager, Ecosystem Management and…