Environmental Studies

Study the physical, biological, and social aspects of humans and our interaction with the environment

Increasing population, technological demands, and the continued quest for a higher standard of living impose expanding demands on finite global resources. As an Environmental Studies student, you'll study the effects of these stresses on the Earth and its inhabitants in the classroom, field, and laboratories.

School/Division

Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY

Major

Environmental Studies (BA)

Minor

Environmental Studies

Independent Research Projects

All our majors engage in independent undergraduate research projects as part of the Environmental Studies program. The topics of these projects vary greatly, depending on the interests of the students. We firmly believe that students learn by “doing” and incorporate hands-on, interactive learning in virtually all of our courses.

Industry-Leading Equipment

All students have access to a vast array of state-of-the-art field, laboratory, and computer equipment within the Environmental Studies Division as well as the other science and engineering departments on campus. This makes Alfred University's undergraduate program one of the best equipped in the country.

Internships & Research Assistantships

Faculty routinely hire undergraduates as interns or research assistants in the summer, allowing students to get even more experience with research projects and instrumentation. All these experiences prepare students for a variety of career opportunities and post-graduate education in fields related to the environment.

Water Analysis Equipment

Our labs are equipped with the following: ion chromatograph, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, capillary zone electrophoresis instrumentation.

Soil Analysis Equipment

We employ the following equipment for soil analysis: compaction meter, soil moisture collectors, various microscopes, extensive wet-laboratory equipment.

Field Sampling & Analysis

Featuring: “Hydrolab” for analyzing a variety of water parameters; sediment and water samplers, including two automated, programmable water samplers; flow meters; field dissolved oxygen, pH, and electrical conductivity meters; two boats.

GIS Equipment

The division features a fully-equipped Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory complete with two sub-meter scale Global Positioning Systems units, a dedicated GIS specialist, a 36-inch color plotter, and the latest version of the most frequently used GIS software.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the major in Environmental Studies, as well as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences general education requirements, you'll be required to complete the College's First Year Experience Program or Transfer Student Program.

Requirements for the Minor:

  • ENVS 101 Environmental Studies I – Natural Science
  • ENVS 102 Environmental Studies II – Social Science
  • ENVS 240 Environmental Research Procedures I
  • ENVS 241 Environmental Research Procedures II

Plus, 8 credits of electives, selected by the student and minor advisor, chosen from the lists of natural science and social science electives and integrated to meet the student’s objectives in environmental study.

Core Courses:

  • ENVS 101 Environmental Studies I – Natural Science
  • ENVS 102 Environmental Studies II – Social Science
  • ENVS 205 Environmental Data Analysis
  • ENVS 206 Fieldcraft-Outdoor Proficiency
  • ENVS 220 Introduction to GIS
  • ENVS 240 Environmental Research Procedures I
  • ENVS 241 Environmental Research Procedures II
  • ENVS 360 Junior Seminar
  • ENVS 415 Natural Resource Management
  • ENVS 440 Environmental Research Planning
  • ENVS 490 Senior Seminar
  • ENVS 499 Senior Year Project
  • POLS 214 Politics and Environment

Breadth (choose one course from among the following):

  • BIOL 150 Biological Foundations
  • CHEM 105 General Chemistry I
  • GEOL 101 This Dynamic Earth
  • PHYS 111 Introductory General Physics I
    or PHYS 125 Physics I

(choose two courses from among the following):

  • ANTH 110 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 310 Cultural Anthropology and Disease
  • ECON 201 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 312 Environmental Economics
  • ENGL 293 Writers Gone Wild: Literature and the Environment
  • ENVS 201 Environmentalism
  • ENVS 204 Environmental History
  • ENVS 245 Spirituality and the Environment
  • HIST 308 Americans and Their Environment
  • PHIL 281 Ethics
  • POLS 345 International Environmental Politics
  • POLS 411 Bureaucracy

Natural Science emphasis electives (three courses - at least 11 credits - from among those listed, with no more than two 100-level courses):

  • BIOL 322 Botany
  • BIOL 354 Ecology
  • BIOL 356 Aquatic Ecology
  • CHEM 106 General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 310 Basic Organic Chemistry
    or CHEM 315 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 316 Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 321 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry
  • ENVS 300 Special Topics
  • ENVS 330 Ornithology
  • ENVS 320 Advanced GIS Applications
  • ENVS 351 Environmental Biogeochemistry
  • ENVS 357 Conservation Biology
  • GEOL 201 Surficial Geology
  • GEOL 301 Structural Geology
  • GEOL 307 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation
  • GEOL 464 Hydrogeology
  • PHYS 112 Introductory General Physics II
    or PHYS 126 Physics II

Core Courses:

  • ENVS 101 Environmental Studies I – Natural Science
  • ENVS 102 Environmental Studies II – Social Science
  • ENVS 205 Environmental Data Analysis
    or POLS/SOCI 230 Introductory Data Analysis and Statistics
    or PSYC 220 Psychological Methods & Statistics
    or BUSI 113 Business Statistics
  • ENVS 206 Fieldcraft – Outdoor Proficiency
  • ENVS 220 Introduction to GIS
  • ENVS 240 Environmental Research Procedures I
  • ENVS 241 Environmental Research Procedures II
  • ENVS 360 Junior Seminar
  • ENVS 440 Environmental Research Planning
  • ENVS 490 Senior Seminar
  • ENVS 499 Senior Year Project
  • ENVS 415 Natural Resources Management
  • POLS 214 Politics and Environment

Breadth (choose one course from among the following):

  • BIOL 150 Biological Foundations
  • CHEM 105 General Chemistry I
  • GEOL 101 This Dynamic Earth
  • PHYS 111 Introductory General Physics I
    or PHYS 125 Physics I

Social Science emphasis electives (16 credits from among the following):

  • ANTH 110 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 310 Cultural Anthropology and Disease
  • ECON 201 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 202 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECON 312 Environmental Economics
  • ENGL 293 Writers Gone Wild: Literature and the Environment
  • ENVS 201 Environmentalism
  • ENVS 204 Environmental History
  • ENVS 245 Spirituality and the Environment
  • ENVS 320 Advanced GIS Applications
  • HIST 308 Americans and Their Environment
  • PHIL 281 Ethics
  • POLS 313 State and Local Politics
  • POLS 411 Bureaucracy
  • PSYC 282 Social Psychology

Core Courses:

  • ENVS 101 Environmental Studies I – Natural Science
  • ENVS 102 Environmental Studies II – Social Science
  • ENVS 205 Environmental Data Analysis
  • ENVS 206 Fieldcraft – Outdoor Proficiency
  • ENVS 220 Introduction to GIS
  • ENVS 240 Environmental Research Procedures I
  • ENVS 241 Environmental Research Procedures II
  • ENVS 360 Junior Seminar
  • ENVS 440 Environmental Research Planning
  • ENVS 490 Senior Seminar
  • ENVS 499 Senior Year Project
  • MATH 151 Calculus I

Breadth (choose four courses from among the following):

  • BIOL 150 Biological Foundations
  • CHEM 105 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 106 General Chemistry II
  • GEOL 101 This Dynamic Earth
  • MATH 152 Calculus II
  • PHYS 111 Introductory General Physics I
    or PHYS 125 Physics I
  • PHYS 112 Introductory General Physics II
    or PHYS 126 Physics II

Depth: (three courses - at least 11 credits - from among those listed)

  • BIOL 322 Botany
  • BIOL 354 Ecology
  • BIOL 356 Aquatic Ecology
  • CHEM 310 Basic Organic Chemistry
    or CHEM 315 Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 321 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry
  • ENVS 300 Special Topics
  • ENVS 330 Ornithology
  • ENVS 357 Conservation Biology
  • ENVS 320 Advanced GIS Applications
  • ENVS 351 Environmental Biogeochemistry
  • GEOL 201 Surficial Geology
  • GEOL 464 Hydrogeology

All talks are from 12:20 to 1:10 pm on Fridays in Roon Lecture Hall (Room 247), Science Center. 

Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served.


Sept 6, The Importance of Data Visualizations and GIS in Watershed-Based Projects - Lisa Matthies-Wiza, Erie County Director of Geographic Information Services (AU BA ENVS Alum ’95)

Sept 13, Tundra, Wildlife, People, and Pipeline on the Alaska North Slope - Dr. Frederic Beaudry, Associate Professor, Division of Environmental Studies & Geology, Alfred University

Sept 20, Citizen’s Response to Changes in Japan’s Seed Law: Environmental and Farmer ActivismDr. Nicole Freiner, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science & Environmental Studies, Bryant University (AU BA PS Alum ’95)

Sept 27, Using Remote Sensing to Understand the Effects of Land Use Legacy on Forests at the Finger Lakes National Forest -Dr. Kristen Brubaker, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Oct 4, Anticipation+Concentration=Quickness (A Communications Studies Major’s Path to GIS)Jason Sealy, Sales Executive, CycloMedia Technology (AU BA COMM Alum ’99)

**No seminar Oct 11 before mid-term break

Oct 18,  20 Years of Research with USGS Sequoia Field Station-from Chaparral to SequoiasAnne Pfaff, Ecologist, USGS Sequoia-Kings Canyon Field Station

Oct 25, The Geochemistry of Small Mountainous River Watersheds in Southern Puerto RicoErin Siebert, Grad Student, Villanova University (AU ENVS/GEOL Alum ’18)

Nov 1, Transforming the World’s Largest Landfill, One Baby Step at a TimeLaura Truettner, Manager, Park Development, Freshkills Park, NYC Department of Parks & Rec.

Nov 8, The Natural Plumbing of Columbus’ Isle: A Summary of 32 Years of Research on San Salvador Island, Bahamas - Dr. R. Laurence Davis, Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Haven University

Nov 15, Roger Tory Peterson:  How an Artist Created a World of Naturalists - Jane Johnson, Dir. of Exhibitions & Marketing, Roger Tory Peterson Institute (AU BA ENVS Alum ’99)

Nov 22, New England Cottontail Conservation and Management - Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse, Dept. of Nat. Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut


Information about the Speakers

Lisa Matthies-Wiza:

Lisa Matthies-Wiza graduated from Alfred University in 1995 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She landed her first job in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) shortly after. Lisa has spent her career providing data management and GIS support to environmental projects throughout Western New York and taught a GIS Certificate Program for five years. Lisa started with Erie County in 2012 and currently heads up their Office of GIS. Lisa lives in Williamsville, NY with her husband and enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, kayaking, quilting and watching too much bad reality tv.

Frederic Beaudry:

Dr. Beaudry is Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Alfred University. He is a wildlife ecologist who specializes in habitat and population ecology, usually in the context of bird or turtle conservation. He has a B.S. in Biology from the Université du Québec à Rimouski, a M.S. in Natural Resources from Humboldt State University, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine.

Nicole Freiner:

Dr. Nicole Freiner is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Bryant University where she teaches courses on Asian and Japanese Politics and Society, Comparative and Environmental Politics and Policy. Nicole graduated from Alfred University with a degree in Political Science in 1995. She is the author of two books on Japanese Politics: The Social and Gender Politics of Confucian Nationalism: Women and Japanese State (2012), and Tice and Agricultural Policies in Japan: The Loss of a Traditional Lifestyle (2019), both published by Palgrave MacMillan. Alongside the two books, Nicole is the author of numerous articles including “Mobilizing Mothers: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe and Environmental Activism in Japan” (AsiaNetworkExchange, Fall 2013) and others published in The Japanese Studies Association Journal and The Diplomat (the premier online magazine covering Asian diplomacy) among others. Most recently, she was awarded a grant by the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in order to conduct research on Japan’s Seed Law and Biotechnology Policy.

Kristen Brubaker:

Kristen Brubaker is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. Kristen has a background in forestry and geosciences, and works with spatial data, especially lidar, to understand how geology and past land use influence current patterns of forests across New York and Pennsylvania. Kristen teaches courses in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems GIS at Hobart and William Smith.

Jason Sealy:

Jason Sealy graduated from Alfred University in 1999 with a degree in Communications Studies. With over 16 years of experience serving the public sector, Jason gains great satisfaction in helping State and Local Government customers address their ever-changing business challenges by leveraging enterprise solutions. Jason has a diverse history and maintains a continued fascination with working in the geospatial and mapping technology industries. Throughout his respective tenures with Esri and EagleView, and now with Cyclomedia, Jason has always enjoyed sharing his understanding and experience with clients, colleagues, and business partners alike.

Anne Pfaff:

For the past 20 years, Anne has participated in many fire and forest ecology research projects in Sequoia National Park and the Sierras. Anne grew up near Alfred and her father was a professor of English at Alfred University. She got her BS in Biology from Yale University and a Masters in Biology from University of Northern Colorado. During her 25+ year career with federal government, Anne has moved around the country and has worked for 3 different agencies (National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife and US Geological Survey). She has worked in a wide variety of jobs including Park Ranger, Refuge Management Specialist, Biologist and currently, Ecologist. Anne currently resides in Three Rivers, CA.

Erin Siebert:

Erin Siebert graduated from Alfred University in 2018 with degrees in Environmental Studies and Geology. Erin is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Villanova University. She is a full time thesis student studying the geochemistry of Puerto Rico watersheds and will graduate with a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science in the spring of 2020. 

Laura Truettner:

Laura Truettner manages the regulatory aspects of capital projects with a focus on the environmental conditions at the park. In this capacity, Laura works extensively with the NYC Department of Sanitation and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on coordination of park development and park programs with landfill closure operations. A geologist and an urban planner by training, Laura has over 25 years of experience in private, public and not for profit work related to contaminated sites and their revitalization.

Laurence Davis:

Dr. Davis is a geologist whose interests include natural hazards, groundwater, applying geology to land planning and resource management, public perception of “nature”, and the hydrology of karst (cavernous) terrains. His current research examines karst hydrology on San Salvador, Bahamas. Other projects included studies of contaminant clean-up and historical preservation at an old Vermont copper mine, inventorying natural history features useful for teaching in Connecticut State Parks, and developing programs for getting children out “into nature” and away from their screens. For the past 50 summers, Larry has been Director of Nature Programs and Teaching at Camp Pemigewassett, New Hampshire where he works with children aged 8-15. He also served as Associate Professor of Geology at Alfred from 1980-1987.

Jane Johnson:

A native of Bemus Point, NY, in Chautauqua County, Ms. Johnson graduated from Alfred University in 1999 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She currently lives in Jamestown, and is the Director of Exhibitions and Marketing for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI).  Jane has lived and worked in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. before relocating back to the Western New York area in 2014.  She is a member of the Chautauqua County Visitor’s Bureau Board of Directors, serving as Treasurer. Ms. Johnson isalso a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the Carnahan-Jackson Foundation Grants Committee in Jamestown.

Chadwick Rittenhouse:

Dr. Rittenhouse and his research team address the intersection of science and management as it relates to conservation planning, decision making, and landscape and wildlife ecology. Their projects include remote sensing and GIS studies of forest disturbance, vegetation dynamics, and land cover change, and straightforward studies of animal resource selection, movements, population abundance, and survival for species ranging from elk and mule deer to box turtles and birds. More recently, they have focused on environmental planning, especially geospatial tools for protection, management, and restoration of wildlife and their habitats.

Environmental Studies graduates have found interesting and rewarding employment in a wide range of
careers. The experience and qualifications acquired throughout their studies, research projects and
internships enable graduates to work as environmental professionals in government regulatory
departments, in private industry, and with private environmental consulting firms. Many of our graduates
continue on to graduate school.

Examples of recent graduates include:

  • Top Secret – Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Environmental Technician – Ravi Engineering Kenai Chache
  • Project Geologist – D.W. Kozera, Inc.
  • Jr. Environmental Analyst – SAIC
  • Environmental Health & Safety – Colgate University
  • Environmental Scientist – Haley’s Aldrich
  • Inventory Arborist- Davey Resource Group
  • Naturalist & Environmental Educator – Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
  • Environmental Affairs Assistant – Environmental Health & Safety, University of Nevada
  • Environmental Coordinator – C&W Environmental
  • Landscape Superintendent – L.C. Whitford Co.
  • Field Tech Inspector – Dresser Rand/C.M.E.
  • Lead Technician – University of Arizona, National Park Service
  • Water Quality Analyst – Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

Faculty / Staff

Facilities

In addition to labs and classroom on our campus, Alfred University offers Environmental Studies students access to facilities off-campus. A hydrologic field laboratory, consisting of seven groundwater wells, which is fully instrumented to measure and record water levels, temperature, electrical conductivity, pressure, etc. is highly regarded in the study of hydrology and related fields. Additionally, Foster Lake, a 223-acre property consisting of the lake and surrounding forest, is used as a field laboratory for Environmental Studies classes and student research.

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