Environment, Natural Resources, & Wildlife

Look below for relevant Spring 2021 events and throughout this page for resources to help you learn about and land a position in this field. You can also subscribe to this community’s newsletter or join the Facebook group for job/internship updates, employer events, and more.

Want personalized advice to figure out your next steps? Maureen can help! Sign up for a virtual chat or group advising session.

Make An Appointment

Your Guide to Spring 2021 Events

Thu 25

Science, Health & Research Fair

February 25 @ 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Mar 11
Mar 12

Virtual Mock Interviews with an Advisor

March 12 @ 9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Mar 24

Jumpstart Your Job or Internship Search!

March 24 @ 11:00 am - 11:30 am
Mar 31

Taste of Success: Renewable Energy

March 31 @ 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm

Myths about Careers in Environment, Natural Resources, & Wildlife

There can be a lot of misconceptions about careers in this field, so it’s good to be aware of the most common ones. Click the myths below to read more about the truth behind the myth.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

"I can’t find an environmental job unless I have a graduate degree."

Not necessarily! To get started as an undergrad, consider searching for research opportunities (on campus or summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and field based study abroad programs (like CEIBA or School for Field Studies programs). Also, field based programs in the US like WRFI may be more accessible than study abroad programs in the upcoming year.

When you graduate, environmental work often requires specific experience, education, and specialized training. Depending on skills you have developed in college, you may qualify for various technician, specialist, and consulting roles. In addition, depending on the type of work you are willing and able to do, you can begin through gap year programs, internships, limited term and part-time jobs. Environmental email job boards are a good resource to sign up for to get a better sense of what types of jobs are available.

"I want a well-paid job, so I should probably look at different career paths."

While most people who go into environmental related career paths aren’t looking to get rich, environmental jobs span all work sectors, including finance, policy, law, business, real estate, government, and non-profit. Figuring out the different work environments will help you better understand which paths you might want to pursue. 

"I must go to veterinary school if I want to work with wildlife animals."

You first want to learn the different ways in which you can work with animals. For example, you may become a zoologist or wildlife biologist working in different paths in conservation management and wildlife rehabilitation where getting a master’s degree and the appropriate certifications and permits will allow you to work in state and federal government positions. Some paths will require further education, especially work with more of a research focus. Figuring out the types of animals you want to work with will also help determine the necessary level of education. If you don’t know what you’re interested in yet, do something, anything to narrow down your interests.

"I can’t work in sustainability and business if I don’t have a business background."

Trying out multiple related opportunities during college is just as important as doing the same once you’ve graduated. When you’ve gained more job experience and tried out different functional areas to build your skills, then figuring out the next right step for working in sustainability will help you be prepared to follow a path that works for who you are and what you want to do. Here is a good article to read more about this process. Learn about local initiatives and resources happening here in Wisconsin.

Explore Career Paths

What does it mean to work in fields such as Environmental Planning/Conservation, Sustainability, Resource Management, Remediation/Compliance, Quality Assurance/Control, or Wildlife Management/Care? Read more below about each of these areas and how your L&S degree can lead you to a career in these fields.

Looking for more? Check out our Graduate School Resources

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Environmental Policy & Planning

The Environmental Policy field centers around the alternation of public policy and social institutions that influence the way we manage the environment and our natural resources. By researching scientific data and current legislation Environmental Policy makers create new laws and legal standards that will better serve shifting environmental demands.

Environmental Planning careers create programs that use land more efficiently with minimal damage to the surrounding environment. They often focus on the use of natural resources and attempt to predict any risks or problems that may arise, and then create plans to combat these risks.

Sustainability & Green Jobs

Though the words “sustainability” and “green” often invoke the idea of environmental scientists, this narrow view does not accurately represent the diversity of the field. While these scientific careers are certainly part of the industry, there are many other options for those seeking a Sustainability job or Green profession. In fact, many Sustainability careers are often focused on helping organizations and companies run more efficiently, thereby increasing their profits, pleasing their customer base, and creating a sense of well being among the community.

Environmental Public Health Careers

Opportunities in public health are expanding, largely due to the prevalence of preventable diseases and the challenges presented by an aging population, environmental contaminants, and natural disasters. Since the environment plays a major role in our health many career options focus on understanding and improving conditions in both natural and built environments. These are often referred to as occupational and environmental health professions. Workers in these careers keep us safe by inspecting facilities, researching how the environment influences human health and disease, and minimizing environmental health risks.

Agriculture & Forestry

Careers in Agriculture and Forestry make up one of the largest industries and sources of long-term employment in the country, providing jobs for millions of Americans. These careers supply us with a multitude of food products and alternative energies, among many other important resources for sustaining our country and contribution to the world economy. In addition, these careers – particularly those associated with Forestry – conserve our natural resources and assure we have bountiful supplies of land to utilize in the future. Many of the careers in the Agriculture and Forestry industry are considered “Green Careers,” meaning that the careers are involved in preserving or protecting our environmental resources.

Ways to Explore

Environmental SCIENCE.org: Use this resource to get started on figuring out how your interests could fit with a possible career path. Learn about education options, detailed descriptions of career paths, plus jobs and more.

US EPA: Become knowledgeable of cutting edge environmental topics and issues, laws and regulations and how the EPA is involved in making key decisions that impact current trends in managing human health and the environment.

IDENTIFY SKILLS, JOB FUNCTIONS, OUTLOOK, SALARY ETC…

ONET OnLine: O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!

Occupational Outlook Handbook: The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.

CareerOneStop: A source for career exploration, training & jobs. Sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

Glassdoor.com: Jobs, Company Reviews, Salaries, Interviews, Know Your Worth.

Environmental Careers
Natural Resources
Wildlife Careers

 

 

 

 

 

Ask a Badger

Listen to UW-Madison alum Linda Vakunta (BA ’09, Psychology) talk about her career journey.

Employment of conservation scientists and foresters is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Heightened demand for American timber and wood pellets will help increase the overall job prospects for conservation scientists and foresters.

Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2017

Get a Job or Internship

Ready to learn about job or internships, refine your application materials, or land a position? Internships are your way of “test-driving” a particular field or career path. They allow you to experience what skills, challenges, and opportunities may be offered in many different positions and work environments. Here, you will find many resources to help you apply to jobs and internships in this industry as well as view featured employers that may be helpful on your path to success!

Microinternships

While searching for a job or internship, check out microinternships for a great way to get real work experience. These short-term, professional, and paid opportunities can be completed in a matter of hours.

Offered through the Parker Dewey platform, these opportunities also allow you to demonstrate your skills while working on professional projects from real employers. Given the current state of things, tasks can often be carried out remotely.

Browse Opportunities

Now Explore

  • Learn about work environments and functions
  • Find out requirements for education and training
  • Discover the professional organizations and career outlook

Environmental SCIENCE.org: Use this resource to get started on figuring out how your interests could fit with a possible career path. Learn about education options, detailed descriptions of career paths, plus jobs and more.

US EPA: Become knowledgeable of cutting edge environmental topics and issues, laws and regulations and how the EPA is involved in making key decisions that impact current trends in managing human health and the environment.

Conservation Biology Majors: When Aldo Leopold and Norman Fassett, a former UW Botany professor, first initiated the major in the 1940s, they intended for the major to prepare individuals for careers as game wardens, ranger naturalists, and museum workers. As the major evolved, career opportunities evolved as well. Conservation Biology alumni have worked both domestically and internationally in many different industries.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Build Your Experience & Skills

Use these sites to search for Internships, Volunteer, Part-time/Full-time jobs. Learn position requirements and qualifications to find out what skills and experiences you need for jobs of interest. In addition, search specific state, federal, and private organization websites for other job listings.

Handshake: Find opportunities specifically for UW students and recent grads.

UW-Madison Environmental Science Careers Page – several resources including  local, state, and national environmental organization lists and opportunities

The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

UW-Madison Office of Sustainability Jobs & Internships

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

The Wildlife Society Jobs

Wildlife & Fisheries Job Board

Forestry & Natural Resources

AgCareers.com

Indeed.com A job search site listing positions at the national level.

LinkedIn: Search human services, mental health.

Idealist.org: Non-profit jobs and internships.

Glassdoor: Search by job title or company.

Wisc.jobs: Find jobs in the State of Wisconsin.

Job & Internship Search Resources

Top Employers

ENVIRONMENT

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

University of Minnesota

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Epic

U.S. Forest Service

Teach for America

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Peace Corps

City of Madison, WI

State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Google

NATURAL RESOURCES

 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

U.S. Forest Service

University of Wisconsin-Extension

University of Minnesota

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

USDA-NRCS

American Family Insurance

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ERM: Environmental Resources Management

USAID

US Environmental Protection Agency

Stantec

Arizona State University

WILDLIFE

 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The Nature Conservancy

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

University of Minnesota

Dane County Humane Society

National Park Service

Colorado State University

University of California, Davis

Madison Metropolitan School District

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Iowa State University

Connect with Professionals

LinkedIn: Build your online presence by developing a profile, search for alumni in your major to learn the different paths you could consider, search for opportunities and more!

Use the Higher Education section to access guides on how to best use LinkedIn.

Badger Bridge: Whether you are fresh off Bascom Hill, a seasoned professional, or still a student, Badger Bridge is for you! Consider this your go-to resource for:

  • Seeking alumni connections for professional advice
  • Making a career change
  • Connecting with alumni in your city or cities across the globe
  • Considering relocating

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, LICENSE, TRAINING & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

A good way to further explore career interests is by checking out professional associations’ career and education resources. You can also learn about relevant events and conferences to attend, which is a great way to meet people in the field and make connections.

Identify Skills, Job Functions, Outlook, Salary, etc...

ONET OnLine: O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!

Occupational Outlook Handbook: The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.

CareerOneStop: A source for career exploration, training & jobs. Sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

On-Campus Resources

Featured Employers

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Learn More

Jobs & Internships on Handshake

Set up your profile in Handshake to take care of everything you need to explore career events, manage your campus interviews and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

SuccessWorks now offers an exciting resource for you called Big Interview. This great tool helps you learn, practice, and analyze your interviewing skills.

It’s easy to sign up, it’s free, so check it out and help your future self ace your next interview!

Create Your Free Account

Looking to get started now? We have made a specialized assignment for you to practice the four most common interview questions. Just go to the “Assignments Tab” and enter code: 3237e2

Check out these courses

SURVEY OF OCEANOGRAPHY

Prerequisites: None

Nature and behavior of ocean water, interaction of oceans and atmosphere, structure of the ocean floor, life in the oceans, our relationship to the marine environment. Enroll Info: High school physics or chem recommended. Open to Freshmen

GLOBAL CHANGE: ATMOSPHERIC ISSUES AND PROBLEMS

Prerequisites: None

Atmospheric problems of global significance. Greenhouse warming, ozone layer, acid rain, climate change. Study based on elementary principles of atmospheric science. Systems approach applied to changing atmospheric composition. Interactions among geochemical cycles, anthropogenic inputs and other parts of the environment.

INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

Prerequisites: None

Human geographers explore socio-spacial relations, processes, and representations of the world in which we live. This course engages economic, political, urban, socio-cultural and environmental geographic perspectives to investigate patterns and processes that have come to be associated with ‘globalization.

FORUM ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Prerequisite: None

Lectures and discussions about environmental issues. Historical and contemporary environmental impacts of humans on the biosphere. Global futures: population, technology, societal values, resources and prospects for sustainable management.

PRINCIPALS OF MICROECONOMICS

Prerequisites: None

This course relates principles of environmental science to our daily activities, with an eye to sustainability, conservation, and systems thinking. It introduces science as a process of inquiry and discovery rather than just a pre-established set of facts. Topics relate to energy, water, and land use, and include food, electric power, materials, buildings, transportation, and waste.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY

Prerequisites: Open to Freshman

Application of geology to problems resulting from the ever more intense use of the earth and its resources. Lecture and discussion.