The environmental science program, designed to prepare students for jobs related to the environment or for transfer to a four-year institution, began in the fall of 2010 with 70 students—nearly double the initial projection figures. This fall 100 students are enrolled in the program, which is of- fered at academic centers throughout the state and also online.
This summer CCV-Upper Valley students in Jennifer Guarino’s Streams and Rivers class spent a day on the White River with Jim Ryan, a watershed coordinator with the Vt. Dept. of Environmental Conservation, visiting river restoration sites and identifying damage caused by tropical storm Irene. Ryan described how he and his team assessed the damage and created plans to stabilize the areas, pointing out how recent classroom topics (river geomorphology, stream classification, flood plain management, and measuring water quality) were used in the process.
At the same time, CCV- Brattleboro students in George Lioniak’s Forest Ecology class were busy on land, studying the structure and dynamics of forest communities as they surveyed and collected data in a forest plot. Each student used this data to prepare a forest management plan to meet the needs of a hypothetical landowner (either a family interested in timber, but also wildlife, hiking, and scenic beauty; or a commercial client whose primary objective is timber production).
“I try to find practical applications in the field of all the things we are learning in class, so students leave with hands-on skills that they can use on a job,” says Lioniak, who also works for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “Foresters are so entrenched in New England—anyone interested in ecology can pursue this work!”