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Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies

Are you concerned about the sustainability of our civilization? We are. We envision a community of environmentally-literate and actively engaged citizens, scientists and other professionals. We cultivate a deep understanding and transformative awareness of the interconnections between humans and the rest of the environment. This awareness is essential to provide positive contributions to the world. We do this by creating a participatory learning community that generates critical thinking and problem solving through active collaboration with faculty and off-campus stakeholders.

The courses in our interdisciplinary program examine the interaction of people and our environment, incorporating natural, social, and political systems. Students acquire the ability to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize complex information relating to environmental issues and graduate with skills for careers as diverse as environmental consulting, policy making, field research, and staff positions assisting organizations in meeting goals related to sustainability.

Program Overview


Hands-on Experience

We employ small-group, hands-on projects to address "real-world" environmental problems such as air pollution caused by diesel exhaust, ecological restoration of rivers, and protection of natural resources in the local community. A strong community/service learning connection is built into our curriculum. For example, students from environmental studies recently helped the City of Keene develop a natural resources inventory for a local park and natural area and performed invasive species evaluations at Pisgah State Park in Chesterfield, N.H. Students have also assisted AVEO (Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory) in performing culvert inventories and vernal pool assessments. Students participate in grant-funded research with the Monadnock Biodiesel Collaborative that is studying the effects of diesel and biodiesel emissions on human lungs and evaluating the impact of different biodiesel blends and feedstocks on environmental and occupational exposures. Students also participate in grant-funded research that studies the relationship between river function and human land use.

Our Setting

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 in close proximity. Keene is a city of about 23,000, with a diverse commercial and industrial economic base and a history as a manufacturing and railroad center. The city (and the Keene State College campus) lies on an the bed of an ancient glacial lake, much of it in the floodplain of the Ashuelot River or its tributaries. There are many wetlands and productive aquifers. Nearby Mount Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the world. The region continues to face many development pressures.

The Ashuelot River runs right through the KSC campus, which is at about at the half-way 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 near the College’s athletic field complex, established by the Keene State College Grounds Crew in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The College also owns a camp on Wilson Pond in nearby Swanzey and the 400-acre Louis Cabot Preserve on Lake Nubanusit in the towns of Nelson and Hancock. This latter property is cooperatively managed for the College by the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock.

Environmental Studies Alumni

What do students do with a major in Environmental Studies? Find out what our former students are doing after graduation. More about Environmental Studies Alumni

Department Faculty

Learn more about the Environmental Studies faculty. More about Department Faculty


July 21, 2017 –

Keene State’s Environmental Studies program has had a long and rewarding relationship with the Harris Center for Conservation Education (HCCE) in nearby Hancock, NH. Through an ongoing partnership, Environmental Studies students are hired as interns for eight weeks in the summer to help the HCCE with various conservation projects. The…

May 5, 2017 –

Caroline McSherry ’17 has had a momentous senior year, thanks to a study-away semester in Panama in the fall and the opportunity to present research that she did in the Central American country at a national conference on Latin American studies this spring.

“I wanted to boost my Spanish language…

April 13, 2017 –

Noah Macri ’17 has applied his environmental studies education in the field over the last few years several times. He collaborated with two environmental studies faculty members, Dr. Denise Burchsted and Dr. Renate Gebauer to give back to the local community through research projects on local habitats.

“Over the four…

October 18, 2016 –

The Harris Center for Conservation Education (Hancock, NH) has selected Keene State’s Environmental Studies Department as the recipient of the Center’s 2016 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award.

The environmental organization cites the Department for its contributions to the Center’s conservation research work: “Through coursework, independent research, internships, and citizen science projects, KSC’s…

October 13, 2016 –

Everyone knows that travel broadens your horizons and is educational in and of itself. But to get the richest experience and really learn about the country and culture you’re visiting, you’ve got to live and work among the people. And when you work to help those people, that’s even better…

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Environmental Studies (Sciences)
Emma Wilson
Administrative Assistant

Admissions Office
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435