New Department Will Broaden Educational and Research Offerings

July 30th, 2002

AMES, Iowa — The newly created Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University will provide students with "a more comprehensive program in natural resources stewardship."

"The department, while maintaining our strengths in forestry, fisheries and wildlife management, will be able to train students and conduct research in a more holistic manner," said department head Mike Kelly. "Sustaining viable landscapes, strong communities and a high quality of life will require new integrated approaches to natural resource management and to the training of future generations of natural resource scientists and managers."

A merger of the departments of forestry and animal ecology in the College of Agriculture created the new department. The combination was approved this summer by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

Kelly said it will take some time to organize the department, combining the academic offerings, research plans and extension programs of the two previous departments. Kelly served as head of the forestry department and Bruce Menzel was head of the animal ecology department. Menzel will be a faculty member in the combined department.

The new department includes 24 faculty members, more than 400 undergraduate students, about 60 graduate students and 10 staff members. It will continue to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in animal ecology and forestry while an assessment is done on how best to position its academic programs for the future, Kelly said.

Current options in the majors include aquaculture, ecology, fisheries and aquatic sciences, forest ecosystem management, natural resource conservation, wildlife, interpretation of natural resources, urban and community forestry, pre-veterinary and wildlife care, and wood products. Faculty in the new department also will participate in a review of the biology curriculum being conducted as part of a reorganization of fundamental biological science now underway.

Kelly said the new department fits in with a trend of offering a broader approach in natural resource education. The Pinchot Institute For Conservation, a nonprofit natural resource policy, research and education organization, issued a policy report in 2000 that encouraged universities to expand course offerings. Kelly said the report concluded that the social, economic and ecological aspects of forestry have increased the need for a wider array of skills.

Contacts: 

Mike Kelly, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, (515) 294-1166

Ed Adcock, Communications Service, (515) 294-2314