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Contact Information:
Department of
Natural Resources Science
University of Rhode Island
105 Coastal Institute
1 Greenhouse Road
Kingston, RI 02881.
Phone: (401)874-2026.
Fax: (401)874-4561.

Department of Natural Resources Science

The NRS Department was established in 1983 through NRS the merger of the University's Forest and Wildlife Management Department and the Soil Science Section of the Plant and Soil Science Department. Office and laboratory facilities are located in the Coastal Institute building on the Kingston Campus. The overarching vision of the Department of Natural Resources Science is to be a leader in interdisciplinary, innovative inquiry that generates highly-relevant knowledge, in developing integrative science-based solutions to contemporary environmental problems, in educating tomorrow’s scientists and leaders, and in promoting science and education that contributes to a vibrant green economy and a sustainable environment. The Department of Natural Resources Science will achieve this vision by:

  1. engaging in interdisciplinary, collaborative research and teaching and outreach that integrates multiple levels of scientific inquiry (from molecules to ecosystems, soils to the biosphere), that effectively communicates our knowledge to a diversity of stakeholders, and that evaluates best options to ensure a green economy, and advances environmental sustainability.
  2. producing innovate, creative, environmentally responsible citizens who value learning, are effective leaders and communicators, and who apply their curiosity, knowledge, and skills to solve complex environmental problems in a changing world.
  3. promoting discovery through innovative scholarship, collaborative partnerships between universities and government and non-government agencies, and the development of practical solutions to environmental challenges of the 21st century.
  4. encouraging intellectual curiosity, cultural diversity, and academic freedom and integrity at the university and beyond in order to create a climate where faculty, students, and staff anticipate future challenges, and invent and implement forward-thinking solutions.

The Department is home to URI's Cooperative Extension programs in Natural Resources and Environmental Management. These include the Water Quality Program and the Renewable Resources Program and provide the citizens of Rhode Island with scientific information to better assess and manage their land and water resources. NRS also hosts personnel from the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program.

The Department has first-rate computing resources, including high-speed Internet access in all Departmental facilities. We have state-of-the-art spatial analysis and graphics capabilities in the Environmental Data Center and in the Laboratory for Terrestrial Remote Sensing. Teaching and research laboratories are equipped with instruments for a wide range of environmental chemical analyses, including nutrients, heavy metals, and organic pollutants. NRS teaching and research are conducted at a wide variety of sites throughout the State, including several State and Federal wildlife management areas and refuges, as well as at the Kingston Wildlife Research Station, where avian migration is monitored during the fall. This station is jointly managed by NRS and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and is the longest running bird banding monitoring station in the United States.

Department Mission

The overall mission of the Department of Natural Resources Science is to conduct the highest quality research, teaching and outreach activities that address the science and management of natural resources. In pursuit of this mission, the Department uses a truly multidisciplinary approach to educate its students and to solve complex environmental problems. Additionally, the Department strives to achieve national and international excellence and recognition within its two primary focus areas: Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Environmental Science and Management. Within these focus areas we:

  • Educate students in fundamental principles and techniques necessary to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem integrity,
  • Conduct high caliber research to foster environmental quality and the sustainability of natural resources,
  • Convey this knowledge to our peers, decision-makers, and citizens, and
  • Accomplish our mission by using an integrative, interdisciplinary, multi-scale approach to address critical environmental issues facing society

Our faculty and staff work from a shared vision of achieving national and international prominence through:

  • Seamless integration of teaching, research, and outreach,
  • Recognition of the values and unique benefits provided by a diverse student body, faculty, and staff
  • The effectiveness of our graduates in advancing knowledge and solving environmental problems, and
  • The practical value of the research we do to enhance environmental quality and the sustainability of natural resources.

Commitment to Diversity

The Department of Natural Resources Science promotes respect for and understanding of diversity in all aspects of society including diversity in race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. As a department, we strive for a diverse student body, faculty, and staff so that we may foster an experience rich in perspectives and opportunities to learn from each other. Towards that end, the faculty, employees, and students of Department of Natural Resources Science seek to:

  • Develop and sustain an increasingly diverse and inclusive community of learners;
  • Develop an appreciation for and understanding of the benefits of a multi-cultural perspective; and
  • Establish a set of policies, programs, practices, and resources necessary to achieve excellence, equity, and effectiveness in the research, teaching and learning, and outreach activities of the University.

Instructional Objectives

The teaching mission of the Department of Natural Resources Science is to train students to become innovative, creative, environmentally responsible citizens who value learning, are effective leaders and communicators, and who apply their curiosity, knowledge, and skills to solve complex environmental problems. Our core courses use hands-on approaches, field and lab projects, and problem-based learning to ensure that students develop skills that can be used to resolve environmental issues and problems. Our curriculum requires that students integrate multiple scales of scientific inquiry (from molecules to ecosystems, soils to the biosphere), effectively communicate and translate their knowledge to a diversity of stakeholders, and use science-based solutions to solve environmental problems, promote alternative energy and a green economy, and advance environmental sustainability for the benefit of society. Students are partnered with NRS research scientists and extension specialists to ensure that the connection is made between their scientific knowledge and real-world application. Apprenticeships are used to connect students with environmental consulting firms and non-academic partner institutions in municipal government, state agencies, federal programs, conservation NGOs, land trusts, and conservancies to expand student’s learning experiences and foster long-term partnerships among the university, an emerging workforce, and the employers of environmental scientists.

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