Are you interested in shaping our common environmental future? Would you like to help organizations become more sustainable, collect field data that informs relevant environmental decisions, or develop forward-thinking environmental policies? If you want to use your passion, knowledge and skills to promote positive change, and seek to develop your foundation in both human and natural systems to do so, then environmental studies might be right for you. At Keene State, the environmental studies major offers a unique experience that includes small classes, hands-on learning (via in-course field experiences, internships, student capstone projects, and undergraduate research opportunities), dedicated and experienced faculty, and a commitment to preparing students with lifelong skills in critical thinking and professional growth. The Environmental Studies Department department prides itself on our close working relationship with students and support for their success. We believe strongly in an interdisciplinary curriculum because it is critical to have a basic understanding of both human systems and natural systems to affect change.
Our faculty have experience in local, regional, and international environmental affairs. Our local connections allow students to participate in solving “real world” environmental problems such as air pollution caused by woodsmoke, ecological restoration of river systems, and protection of local natural resources. Keene’s location in the Ashuelot River watershed and the Monadnock region provides an excellent location for field studies, with "urban" pollution problems and relatively undisturbed "pristine" forests and wetlands in close proximity. Nearby Mount Monadnock is one of the most-climbed mountains in the world. The Ashuelot River runs right through the Keene State campus, which is at about at the halfway point along the river’s course. Along the river’s 63-mile length, its water quality varies significantly. The Keene State College campus also includes Brickyard Pond, the Arboretum and Gardens, and a Wildlife Management Area along the banks of the Ashuelot River, established by the Keene State College Grounds Crew in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Beyond the basic requirements of the major, our students have great flexibility to focus on our natural science or human dimensions courses, and choose an allied minor to broaden their learning or expand potential job opportunities. Popular minors include Geography, Safety and Occupational Health Applied Sciences, Biology, Communications, and our new minor in Sustainability. Many students also choose to minor in Environmental Studies or in our new Sustainability minor, available Fall 2018.
Environmental Studies Minor Options
Explore innovative solutions to the degradation of nature and associated social injustices. Discover technological, social, and ethics-based approaches that can enable more harmonious and sustainable dynamics between humans and nature. Students address the essential question of sustainability: How can we best live without degrading our life-support systems, and create conditions that nurture the flourishing of other beings and future generations?
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Career and Other Opportunities
Our students go on to work for businesses, government agencies, non-profits, and consulting companies as environmental health and safety managers, environmental consultants, field technicians, research assistants, and project coordinators.
The field science methods I was subjected to through the Environmental Studies and Biology programs supplied me with the means to be successful in my future career. I am currently working as a project coordinator for an ecological contracting company and owe my success to KSC.
— Mike Lunstead ’16
The environmental studies major provides students with a conceptual framework and set of skills needed to make effective, relevant, and sustaining contributions to society with respect to environmental issues, both as professional practitioners and as individual citizens. Through field and inquiry-based projects in the regional setting, students gain knowledge and develop skills in investigating environmental issues and formulating solutions.
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