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New major in Wildlife and Natural Resources

Release Date: April 14, 2017

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo


Colorado State University-Pueblo to offer new major in Wildlife and Natural Resources this fall

PUEBLOWith seed funding from the Colorado State University System and collaboration with CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado State University-Pueblo will offer a new bachelor’s degree this fall in Wildlife and Natural Resources (WANR) with Aquatic and Terrestrial emphases that will lead to professional certifications with the American Fisheries Society or The Wildlife Society.  

The WANR degree was one of five new programs recently approved by the CSU System Board of Governors to be implemented over the next few years. The four other programs will be a Doctor of Nursing Practice, master’s degrees in social work and athletic training, and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. The WANR degree will be the first to be offered after earning approval last week by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

According to Dave Lehmpuhl, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, the major will emphasize fish and wildlife ecology and management with practical skills obtained during laboratory and field exercises. Graduates of the program will be prepared for positions with state and federal agencies, tribal departments, and conservation organizations or pursuit of advanced academic degrees. Potential employers include the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and private entrepreneurs and ranchers. Graduates will be qualified to obtain professional certification as associate fishery or wildlife biologists.

The Wildlife and Natural Resources Management degree will be only the second such degree in the state with the other at CSU in Fort Collins. Lehmpuhl said demand for the degree was confirmed by current biology majors, guidance counselors at the high school level, as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics which reflected workforce needs both by the Forest Service as well as Fish and Wildlife agencies.

According to Visiting Assistant Biology Professor Dr. Jim Satterfield, minorities are underrepresented in this industry workforce, which should bode well for graduates of the program. While temporary jobs are plentiful, permanent jobs are more difficult and often require the ability to move. In addition, individuals can obtain technician jobs with a bachelor’s degree, but will need a master’s degree to advance, which means CSU-Pueblo may become a significant feeder for the master’s degree offered in Fort Collins.  

Lehmpuhl said the CSU-Pueblo degree will be particularly strong in ecology, evolution, and vertebrate biology. It will be an attractive option for place bound students in Southern Colorado who seek a more affordable and diverse program, given that field experiences could include locations such as the Walker Ranch, Pueblo Chemical Depot, and the Arkansas River as well as both the arid desert and mountainous climates. Collaboration with Fort Collins will diversify the course offerings as the program develops.

We are certainly grateful to the CSU System for the initial funding,” said CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare, “and I’m especially proud of the mutually beneficial partnerships we have established with the Pueblo Plex and donors like Gary and Georgia Walker which will provide a diverse set of field experiences for our students.”

The CSU System will provide funding for the first two years of the program, which will bring with it six new courses, as well as a new tenure track faculty position and a graduate assistant.  


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