e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

A.A.S. Environmental & Natural Resources Conservation


The environmental and natural resources conservation program provides students with the scientific theory and applied skills necessary for a technical career in the environmental and natural resources sector. This program will provide students with a solid grounding in applied ecological and sociopolitical concepts, accompanied by technical training in plant and tree identification, land surveying, natural resources measurements, geospatial applications, soil and water monitoring, wildlife techniques and forest recreation.


Students interested in a baccalaureate degree should investigate the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management’s bachelor’s degree curriculum. Transfer is possible upon completion of the A.A.S. degree at Wanakena. Transfer into other baccalaureate programs at ESF may be possible, but students should consult with an advisor in the Undergraduate Admissions office as soon as possible. Students who may consider transferring to a baccalaureate program after graduation from the environmental and natural resources conservation program should pay close attention to the footnotes under “freshman year.”

The freshman year environmental and natural resources conservation curriculum consists of general studies courses which may be taken at any accredited four-year, community, or agricultural college, or college of technology.


Combining an A.A.S. with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree

There are several advantages of combining a Ranger School forest technology or environmental and natural resources associate's degree with a four-year B.S. degree in professional forestry. Ranger School graduates who go on to pursue the bachelor's degree have a solid field education as well as a managerial orientation and the deeper ecological and social understanding provided by the professional curriculum.

Students wishing to transfer from the Ranger School to the B.S. programs at the Syracuse campus will be admitted as juniors. They will be given credit for the summer session in field forestry. They will still have to complete some physical sciences, social sciences and humanities requirements while in residence at Syracuse, depending on prior preparation. All other requirements as set forth in the forest resources management program option must be met.

  • NOTE: Students contemplating subsequent transfer should concentrate their freshman year electives in the social sciences and humanities.
  • NOTE: Students should also complete the first semester in chemistry, one semester in physics and a course in calculus prior to transferring.

It is possible to be admitted without these courses, but subsequent progress in the program becomes more difficult.

arboretum work


High school students are encouraged to apply for admission by following the appropriate application procedures. Accepted applicants will be guaranteed a place for their sophomore year at Wanakena upon successful completion of the first year requirements. Students not applying while in high school should apply in the fall semester of their freshman year of college. All applicants are encouraged to contact The Ranger School to arrange for a tour of the campus and its facilities. Visits can be scheduled for weekdays, weekends and some holidays. Call to schedule your visit, (315) 848-2566 ext. 2101

cutting down old trees

Facilities and Equipment

All classes are taught at The Ranger School, which houses the classrooms, library and computer lab, in addition to student residence facilities. The Ranger School's 2,800-acre forest provides an excellent outdoor laboratory for fieldwork and hands-on learning.

Course of Study

First Year Required Courses
(completed at a college of the student’s choice)

Course Codes* Credits
General Biology with lab 4
Science Course with lab (Biology, Chemistry, or Physics) 4
English with a Focus on Writing (Two 3-credit courses) 6
Trigonometry or pre-calculus (1 course) 3
Economics/Policy/Government 3

Total Maximum Transfer Credits


Second Year Required Courses

FTC 200Dendrology 3
FTC 202Introduction to Surveying 3
FTC 204Introduction to Natural Resources Measurements 4
FTC 206Forest Ecology 4
FTC 207Communications and Safety 3
FTC 208Remote Sensing and GIS Technology 3
FTC 210Wildlife Techniques 1 1
FTC 211Silviculture 3
FTC 212Adirondack Cultural Ecology 1
FTC 219Introduction to Forest Recreation 1
FTC 221Natural Resources Management 3
FTC 234Wildlife Conservation 3
FTC 236Environmental Interpretation Principles and Techniques 3
FTC 237Introduction to Water and Soil Resources 4
FTC 238Forest Insects and Disease 3
FTC 239GIS Practicum 1
FTC 240Wildlife Techniques 2 1

Student Enrollment and Graduation Rates

Academic Year Enrolled Graduated
2021-2022 31 28
2020-2021 27 27
2019-2020 19 19
2018-2019 20 17
2017-2018 32 30
2016-2017 14 14
2015-2016 30 30
2014-2015 22 22
2013-2014  22 22
2012-2013  20 19
2011-2012  16 16

Employment Opportunities

The knowledge and skill set provided by this program will aptly meet the career objectives of applicants seeking employment as field or laboratory technicians in the environmental and natural resources sector, such as environmental conservation, recreation, wildlife, forestry, and soil and water conservation. This program will also be of value to those wishing to pursue a baccalaureate degree or other additional education and training.