What is distinctive about an Environmental Biology and Ecological Studies major at Illinois College?
The Environmental Biology program at Illinois College is an interdisciplinary major that integrates courses in the life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. Faculty members from the chemistry, physics, economics, international studies, and sociology departments participate in the program.
There are several unique features of the environmental studies program including location, field courses, required internships, and research opportunities. First, Illinois College is located near important field research areas and diverse ecosystems. Through field courses, students travel off campus to investigate the diverse eco-systems of the Midwest.
Where are Illinois College students after graduation?
The college is located near important governmental offices involved in environmental issues. Our faculty, students, and alumni have been and continue to be involved in key government agencies, advocacy groups and non-profit and profit corporations, which work the environmental issues.
What opportunities are available for students?
OASIS (Outdoor Adventure Club) promotes an adventurous spirit, sponsors outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking, bicycling, etc., and provides outdoor education.
Trip Courses: Several environmental biology courses give opportunities for students to experience different cultures, environment and ideas through short-term, experiential learning trips. Each trip has a topical focus and is led by a team of faculty members representing academic disciplines related to the trip’s theme. Environmental Biology students take trips to the Florida Everglades, Florida Keys, Northern Michigan, Canada , and Costa Rica.
The Illinois College Environmentalists (ICE) is a campus group dedicated to increasing awareness of environmental issues both at Illinois College and the surrounding community. Students participate in river clean ups, advise the college on recycling and other environmental initiatives and try to educate the public about environmental problems and solutions.
Independent Research: Students have the opportunity to participate in independent research and present at national meetings. Past students have done research on flying squirrels (presented at the Southeast Ecology and Evolution Meetings and Midwest Fish and Wildlife meetings); feeding behavior in pheasants and quail (presented at SEE and International Animal Behavior Society meetings); Wetlands restoration and Use of Biodiesel fuel (reported by Springfield State Journal Register and Jacksonville Journal Courier).
Internships: All Environmental Biology students are required to complete either an internship or an independent research project. Interns have the option of creating their own internship or applying for departmental or college internships which are competitive and offer a stipend. Places our students have done internships include; US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Natural Resources, Conservation Police, Henson Robinson Zoo, St. Louis Zoo, The Treehouse Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, The Audubon Society, US Department of Agriculture, FSA (Farm Service Agency), Washington University Tyson Wolf Rehabilitation Center, The Nature Conservancy, New Salem State Park, The Illinois State Museum as well as many others.