Rooted in perspective

Become a dynamic environmental leader equipped to confront modern conservation challenges

Cluster of trees set against a white background representing our Environmental Studies major

FLC’s Environmental Conservation & Management program puts you in the field where the mountains greet the desert southwest and the snowmelt meets the rivers. With the outdoors as your classroom, you’ll develop practical skills while studying climate change, food systems, traditional ecological knowledge, natural resource management, environmental justice, water conservation, public policy, and more.

A wide-angle view of our natural world


Kathy Hilimire, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies in reference to our Environmental Studies degree

"Our department will have you devising solutions to today’s most pressing problems. Tackle environmental injustice, climate change, and more through collaborative work with peers and field-based study."

Relevant, timely, & experiential

You’ll develop practical skills and a broad understanding through interdisciplinary course study and access to the boundless natural laboratory and cultural landscapes of Colorado’s forests, mountains, high desert, rivers, and farms.

Place-based learning

Our location in the American Southwest's Four Corners region—a crossroads of deserts, canyon lands, and mountains—is an ideal setting for studying issues such as energy production, local farming, water conservation, natural resource and public land management, public policy, land use, urban planning, and more. Also, our proximity to four Native American nations offers significant opportunities to study environmental issues on tribal lands.

Education specific to you

Our small classes and our strength in field-based, experiential education mean you get an individualized education from our expert faculty and exposure to environmental professionals in a variety of settings. Because our faculty's focus is on teaching, they work closely with their students, staying involved in their students' progress, and tailoring their assistance to each learner's needs.

Senior capstone

Students have the option to conduct a one-or two-semester senior capstone project using field data collection or literature review. For field-based research, you'll utilize methodologies from the social, natural, or interdisciplinary sciences (e.g., ethnographic interviews, surveys, cost-benefit analysis, ecological field data collection, GIS, etc.). Research based in literature review emphasizes integrative work drawing together theory and research. The final senior thesis project is comprised of a paper, research poster, and oral presentation.


Environmental Conservation & Management internship

  • About the internship
  • Prerequisites
  • Recent site placements
About the internship

ENVS 410: Students register for this course under an Environmental Conservation & Management faculty member, and will complete 150 hours of work for an organization. All internships must be approved.

Our students have held internships locally and afar, from downtown Durango to Uganda, gaining hands-on experience with conservation organizations, a variety of businesses, and government agencies at the city, county, state, tribal and federal levels. Interns work in environmental education, green technology, sustainable agriculture, wildlife and plant monitoring, impact assessment, trail maintenance and restoration projects, public land and natural resource management, and sustainable landscaping.


Before you enroll in your internship course, ENVS 410, you must:

  • Have at least 60 credit hours completed before the internship begins
  • Have completed ENVS100: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Have completed ENVS320: Research Methods & Design or a research methods course specified in the curriculum

Consult with Career Services and the department to see which internships may be available.

Please note: We offer internships at the Environmental Center exclusively during the Spring semester.

Recent site placements

City, county and state departments

  • City of Boulder, Parks & Recreation Department, plant monitoring, education
  • Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Durango office, bear monitoring
  • La Plata County Weeds Department, use GIS mapping for weed location & control


Conservation Groups

  • Conservation Colorado—Work on Hermosa Creek Drainage Conservation Area
  • Colorado Wild—work on Green Score Card for nation’s ski areas
  • Great Old Broads for Wilderness—ATV use monitoring, wilderness planning
  • Historicorps—stabilizing historic structures on public lands
  • La Plata Open Space Conservancy—web design, plant monitoring, outreach
  • Roaring Fork Conservancy, Basalt, Colorado—youth education, watershed issues
  • San Juan Citizens Association—work on water and air quality campaigns
  • San Juan Mountains Association—front desk inquiries, children’s camp


Environmental Education

  • Alaska Center for the Environment, trailside discovery camp, Anchorage
  • Camp Chickami, Massachusetts  
  • Colorado Youth Program, Boulder
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science  
  • Durango Early Learning Center  
  • Durango Nature Studies—educate children, lead tours
  • Ecologic—design & maintain solar powered/biodiesel beer truck
  • Environmental Center, Fort Lewis College—education and outreach
  • Outward Bound—Leadville, CO; lead hikes, long backpacks
  • Wolf Sanctum, Bakersville, North Carolina  


Environmental Tech Work: Research & Monitoring

  • Animas Landscaping—all aspects of stonework, planting xeriscapes
  • Consumers Energy Sustainability Initiative—research & website work, Michigan
  • Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad—weed & fire monitoring
  • Earthworks—collect & monitor information at gas well sites, La Plata County
  • Fort Lewis College Physical Plant (natural landscaping)
  • Four Corners Natives Nursery—germinate & establish seed crops
  • 4CORE—weatherization & sustainable building education
  • Horizon Environmental Services—weed inventory & management, restore land
  • KC Harvey, Environmental—wetlands mitigation near Pagosa Springs
  • Rio Blanca Ranch, Archuleta County—ranching, fencing, trail rides, bear mitigation
  • Scapegoat Landscaping, Durango
  • Ska Brewing—water quality sampling, analysis & research, Durango
  • SME Environmental—office duties, field duties, technical research writing   


Organic Farming/Sustainable Agriculture/Natural Food Production

  • Ancient Future Farm—planting, cultivation, repairs & maintenance, Ignacio
  • Animas Valley Farms—monitor soil research, help with field operations
  • Banga’s Organic Farm, Mancos, CO—help with all aspects of planting
  • Bloom Hill Farm, Bloomfield, Connecticut—clean storm debris, rototill
  • Calwell Farm & Orchard, Durango—farm work & maintenance, soil assessment
  • Culture Brothers Permaculture Project, Ignacio—all aspects of permaculture
  • DPL Hydronics, Durango—botanical knowledge for customers, monitor plants
  • Durango Compost Company—monitor & feed worm bins, research waste producers
  • Durango Southside Community Garden—teach children to garden, organize volunteers
  • Field to Plate Farm—all aspects of organic farming and marketing
  • His Harvest Farm—all aspects of organic farming; work  with a local family
  • Old Fort Sustainable Agricultural Program—small scale organic farming & marketing
  • Rainbow Springs Trout Farm—all aspects of hydrophonics and fish culture
  • Sacred Valley Organic Farm—plant and harvest organic crops
  • Turtle Lake Refuge, Durango—grow wild & living food, prepare microgreens
  • Twin Buttes Sustainable Community, Durango—develop 1.5 acres new garden space

State & Federal Agencies—Public Land Management of Natural Resources

  • Four Corners Federal Lands Partnership Program
  • National Park Service, Mesa Verde National Park—preservation & natural resources
  • National Park Service, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area—cleanup  
  • National Park Service, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
  • USDA Forest Service, San Juan National Forest, Columbine Ranger District
  • USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest, Aspen Ranger District
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Landscape Conservation intern
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Meeker, Colorado—survey lands  
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, condor rehabilitation & habitat, Fillmore, CA
  • U.S. Geological Survey, Policy & Scientific Analysis, bird research, Fort Collins

Trail Building & Fire Control

  • Firewise --work on fire education for communities
  • Four Corners Veterans Fire Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps
  • Mile High Youth Corps
  • Southwest Conservation Corps, crew member
  • Upper Pine River Fire Protection District, Wildland Fire Crew

Tribal Agencies

  • Bristol Environmental & Remediation, Bristol Bay Native Corp., Anchorage
  • Get Out the Native Alaska Vote, Alaska
  • Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, Window Rock, Arizona  
  • Squaxin Island Tribe Natural Resources Department, Shelton, Washington

International Placements

  • Unite Our World, Uganda, Africa—build cinder block school


The road ahead

FLC Environmental Studies major conducting environmental field work near campus

Our complex world calls for dynamic leaders capable of integrating and applying knowledge from multiple perspectives. Some of those leaders boast the profound backbone of an Environmental Conservation & Management degree.

Imagine yourself as a:

  • Environmental conservationist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Tribal environmental protection director
  • Natural resource manager
  • Park ranger
  • Public lands manager