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The Department of Wildland Resources

This degree combines the study of conserving and maintaining ecological systems while recovering these systems and enriching the lives of their inhabitants. Conservation and restoration ecology students learn a broad interdisciplinary approach to natural resources analysis and management. They also have opportunities to learn how to contribute in positive and innovative ways to the understanding and the sustainable management of the earth's natural resources.

Current students are encouraged to visit the Wildland Resources Department homepage for current news and information or the Wildland Resources Department's Undergraduate Programs homepage for additional information.

View Degree Program in the USU General Catalog

Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner-in-Training (CERPIT)

  • Offered by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), the CERPIT program is an optional professional accreditation for CREC students.
  • Demonstrates to potential employers, clients, and collaborators that new graduates who have educational experience (but not necessarily full-time work experience) have obtained the necessary educational background to work in the field of ecological restoration.
  • Participants receive a variety of professional and networking benefits, including a personalized listing in SER’s CERP Directory, access to a global community of certified practitioners, and more.
  • Find out more.


What is Conservation and Restoration Ecology?

Conservation and Restoration Ecology are complementary approaches to managing healthy, functioning natural systems, through both working to protect natural systems from degradation (Conservation) and striving to recover systems that have been degraded (Restoration).

The core of the major teaches students to use ecological principles to conserve and restore terrestrial systems (forests and rangelands) that are threatened or have been damaged or eliminated through overuse, neglect or disaster.

What type of students study Conservation and Restoration Ecology?

Students who …

  • Enjoy working outdoors.
  • Are interested in conserving and restoring healthy natural ecological systems.
  • Want a degree that has a broad natural resources sciences foundation that has the flexibility to design a unique degree that fits the student's unique goals.
  • Want excellent preparation for graduate school.

What do Conservation and Restoration Ecology majors study?

  • Solid foundation in biological sciences, soil science, chemistry, and math.
  • Ecology of wildland plants and animals.
  • Techniques to monitor, assess, preserve, and restore these ecosystems.
  • Policy and other human dimensions of natural resource management.
  • With guidance from an advisor, Conservation and Restoration Ecology majors develop an individualized plan for their Program Electives that prepares them for their unique, personal career goals.

What type of jobs do graduates get?

  • Working for an environmental consulting company on permitting of and restoration following energy development in Wyoming.
  • Bureau of Land Management Botanist.
  • Restoring fire damaged rangelands for Bureau of Land Management or USDA Forest Service.
  • Working for private land reclamation companies.
  • Aquatic invasive species biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
  • Working for a non-governmental organization involved in community-based conservation.
  • Studying black bear – human conflicts in Colorado.
  • Member of congressional natural resources staff.
Shelly Kotynek


Shelly Kotynek

NR 120

Shelly brings years of experience in academic advising, and her love for the outdoors to help students succeed in their educations and future careers.

  • Semester-by-semester planning
  • Connecting with clubs
  • Changing your major
  • Academic success resources


Eugene Schupp


Dr. Eugene Schupp

BNR 373
435.797.2475 Directory Listing
  • Career planning
  • Graduate school planning
  • Undergraduate research opportunities
  • Selecting degree program electives