A wide-angle view of our natural world

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 Studies degree. Fort Lewis College’s Environmental Studies program ensures that 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.

Highlights of the Environmental Studies program:

  • Study and research with an engaged faculty through small class sizes and field studies.
  • Interdisciplinary courses include geography, ecology, history, philosophy, anthropology, literature, political science, biology, economics, sociology, GIS, and more.
  • Develop expertise with 150 hours of a community-based internship in conservation, education, green technology, public lands management, or whatever else you’re pulled toward.
  • Focus on problem-solving through climate solutions, environmental justice, renewable energy, sustainable resource management, and biodiversity protection.
  • Discover long-term, sustainable solutions on local, regional, national, and international levels.

Place-based learning

EC Garden Planting

Fort Lewis College's 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.


About the Environmental Studies Internship

ENVS 410: Students register for this course under an Environmental Studies 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.

Internship Prerequisites

Before you enroll in your internship course, ENVS410, 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 professor of record to see which internships may be available

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


City, County and State
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

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.

Academic options in Environmental Studies

See the catalog for a list of course requirements to earn an Environmental Studies major or an Environmental Policy minor.