Ecological Studies

The multidisciplinary curriculum of the Ecological Studies program cultivates a broad understanding of the interconnectedness of living organisms and environmental systems, including the interactions between humans and the natural world.

The Ecological Studies program provides you with a well-rounded scientific framework in which to solve environmental problems in a hands-on, experiential learning environment.

From microbes to ecosystems, students acquire and practice the fundamental skills required to solve problems both local and global. The multidisciplinary aspect of the Natural Sciences Department enables students to explore the connections of ecology to other areas of natural science. While the interdisciplinary aspect of the major allows students to connect with fields outside of the sciences.

Highlights of the Ecological Studies Program

  • Participate in Pathways to Science and the Science Colloquium, which introduce you to guest scientists in academia and industry and expose you to numerous opportunities beyond Castleton
  • Study abroad opportunities with faculty to explore the Mohave Desert, Costa Rican rainforests, nearshore reefs off of St. John and thermal springs in Iceland.
  • Sharpen your skills through access to our state-of-the-art instrumentation in both our teaching and research labs

Ecological Studies Research

Ecological Studies majors are encouraged to participate in either internships or independent research in their field of study during their time at Castleton.

Our faculty have diverse research interests. Some of this research is funded externally through grants awarded to our faculty where students have the opportunity to work intensively with faculty over the summer months and get paid a stipend.

Students wishing to pursue graduate school are strongly encouraged to work with faculty on independent projects. Some of the recent student research related to Ecological Studies include:

  • Using mark-recapture techniques to assess salamander populations
  • Analyzing microhabitat use by sidewinder rattlesnakes
  • Monitoring nutrient export in the Castleton River
  • Determination of the indirect photochemical decay of BPA

Nearly all of our students that participate in research present their work at the Annual Castleton Scholars Celebration and various regional and national conferences.

Internships are also a great way to make contacts and get experience. Examples of Ecological Studies internships include

  • Working with the Fish and Wildlife Service, mist-netting local bat populations
  • Animal care and exhibit specialists at Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center
  • Interpretative naturalist at Vermont State Parks

Careers in Ecological Studies

Ecological Studies graduates are prepared for careers in government and non-government environmental organizations, such as:

  • Park naturalists
  • Research/field technicians
  • Wildlife specialists
  • Environmental advocacy staff
  • Nature writers
  • Outdoor educators

Additionally, some students may pursue graduate programs in science education, natural resource management, and environmental law/policy.

Students completing the degree requirements for the B.A. in Ecological Studies will have all the necessary coursework required for professional certification through the Ecological Society of America.