photo: Natural Resourse Management class in the field near Leadville, Colorado

Associate of Science with Emphasis in Ecosystem Science & Stewardship

Are you interested in how ecosystems work and how to sustainably manage their resources and other functions? Do you want to experience place-based and hands-on learning in an easily-accessible, campus-owned forest and surrounding wilderness areas? Earn an Associate of Science (AS) with emphasis in Ecosystem Science & Stewardship (ESS) at the high-elevation Colorado Mountain College campus in Leadville and gain the foundational knowledge needed for continued education in this exciting and important field.

During your residency, you will have the opportunity to further connect your coursework to real-world projects through the Field Experience Lab or by earning a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate. These experiences will help you to build field and research skills, connect classroom learning to applied projects, and prepare you for seasonal entry-level positions with non-profit, private, and governmental organizations.

Join a close-knit community of students, faculty, and staff who will support you and your success at every step along your learning-journey. You will graduate with skills and experiences unique among two-year transfer programs.

Earn a GIS Certificate

Develop Geographic Information Systems skills for a fast-growing field

What is ecosystem science?

Within any environment, living and nonliving things interact with each other. Together, they form an ecosystem. Ecosystem science is the study of inter-relationships among the living organisms, physical features, bio-chemical processes, natural phenomena, and human activities in ecological communities.

What does an ecosystem scientist do?

Ecosystem scientists use their expertise to solve problems on many levels. They may do field or lab work to collect and analyze data, investigating factors at play in a degraded ecosystem, predicting the effects of proposed actions, monitoring entire ecosystems, or they may study various phenomena of a single species. They use the information they gathered to describe current ecosystem health, predict future states of an ecosystem, and evaluate different management strategies to improve the health of an ecosystem.

Ecosystem scientists communicate their recommendations to private landowners, land management agencies, external clients, and policymakers, often including spatial analysis and maps made with geographic information systems (GIS).

Where does an ecosystem scientist work?

Many ecosystem scientists with a bachelor’s degree or higher work for non-profit, private, or governmental agencies, or in secondary or higher education. Job titles vary depending on education and experience; some examples include biological technician, ecologist, forester, soil conservationist, hydrologist, botanist, wildlife biologist, environmental consultant, or natural resource manager.