University of Vermont

  • environmental leaders

    "I wanted to learn about how forest ecosystems work and find a job where I could be outside and do something meaningful."— Eric Donnelly

    Eric DonnellyForestry major, research project at UVM forest, forestry technician protecting society's forest-based natural resources long-term. More about Eric

  • environmental leaders

    "The hands-on learning approach allowed me to integrate classroom learning with real life experience." — Alex Marcucci

    Alex MarcucciEnvironmental sciences major, watershed steward & restoration intern, valued service-learning courses, environmental scientist with consulting firm. More about Alex

  • environmental leaders

    "I knew I would be surrounded by individuals who shared many of the same passions."— Carson Casey

    Carson Casey Natural resources major, student government, research on clean energy for Vermont legislature, study abroad in Tanzania, job in renewable energy education. More about Carson

  • environmental leaders

    "Here is a cool new technology for me to jump into that combines geography, natural resources, and information technology!" — Maya Thomas

    Maya ThomasEnvironmental sciences major, GIS minor, research internships, GIS specialist with consulting firm. More about Maya

  • environmental leaders

    "I wanted to become more fluent in the natural history of the region and gain the skills needed to get my students learning outside." — Ryan Morra

    Ryan MorraMaster's degree in natural resources, project in Puerto Rico, professional development programs in sustainability for educators. More about Ryan

  • environmental leaders

    "I learned that science can provide you with the outdoor adventure of a lifetime." — Ryan Sleeper

    Ryan SleeperEnvironmental sciences major, graduate student in natural resources, field research in Alaska, job with environmental consulting company. More about Ryan

The Rubenstein School offers exciting, hands-on environmental programs that integrate natural sciences and social perspectives. Our small, close-knit community challenges students to discover knowledge, skills, and values to become innovative, environmentally-responsible leaders. More about our School | More about studying the environment at UVM

Academic Programs

 Undergraduate Majors
 Undergraduate Minors
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forestry
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Wildlife Biology
 Graduate Degrees, Concentrations & Certificates



Friday May 8, 2015
Early morning: Birding by Ear with Sonia DeYoung and Amanda Spears

To reserve a spot contact Shelby at

Depart from Jeffords Hall lobby.

Native Bees and Working Landscapes: The Influence of Agriculture on Pollination

By Charlie C. Nicholson

Seminar: (10:00, Aiken 311)
Defense: (11:00, Aiken 311)

Taylor Ricketts, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Alison Brody, Professor, RSENR, Chair
Jennifer Pontius, Research Assistant Professor, Biology
Nicholas Gotelli, Professor, Biology

The increase in global food production has come at the cost of biodiversity loss and impaired ecosystem services. Managing agricultural expansion and intensification holds promise as means to decrease impact on the natural systems on which human wellbeing ultimately depends. Pollination is a critical ecosystem service for crop production that can be improved by conserving mobile organisms, including but not limited to bees. Pollination management requires a landscape perspective, yet to-date conservation efforts have been limited by a lack of information about the local and landscape factors that most directly influence the activity and biodiversity of pollinator communities. To address this information gap I will identify the spatial scale and landscape attributes most relevant to pollinator conservation. Farm-level decisions are important as well; building on current models, I will improve our ability to predict pollinator response to land management scenarios. Moreover, I propose to expand our understanding of the benefits of pollinators in agricultural landscapes by testing whether there are effects on adjacent native plant reproductive success. Finally, I will examine the differential response of pollinator communities to ordered and random extinctions in order to demonstrate the potential stabilizing effect of biodiversity for ecosystem services. The results will provide land managers with explicit information about the effects of landscape conservation for pollinators, as well as the forgone benefits that result from biodiversity loss.
Sunday May 17, 2015
8:20 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. + UVM Commencement Main Ceremony
Location: University Green (Indoor viewing of the [outdoor] University Commencement Main Ceremony will be available on large screen display in Waterman Memorial Lounge.)

Ceremony Start Time: 8:20 am (includes procession)
Ceremony End Time: 11:00 am
Tickets: Tickets are not necessary if the ceremony is held outdoors. In the event of severe weather, tickets will be required to attend the Main Ceremony at its indoor venue. For details, please visit the Commencement Tickets web page.

In the event of severe weather, the University Commencement Main Ceremony will be held indoors in the Multipurpose Facility in the Athletic Complex.
Location: The Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, Emerald Ballroom
Start Time: 11:00 a.m.
End Time: 1:00 p.m.
Tickets: No
1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. + RSENR Graduation Ceremony
Location: The Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, Exhibition Hall

Start Time: 1:30 p.m.
End Time: 3:00 p.m.
Tickets: No
Doors Open: 11:00 a.m.
Line-up Location: The Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, Diamond Ballroom Foyer
Line-up Time: 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday May 19, 2015
The Impact of Ecosystem Services Knowledge on Decisions

By Stephen Mark Posner

Seminar: 10am, Gund Conference Room
Defense: 11am, Gund Conference Room

Taylor Ricketts, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Asim Zia, Professor, CDAE, Chairperson
Jon Erickson, Professor, RSENR
Walter Poleman, Senior Lecturer, RSENR

The need to protect diverse biological resources from ongoing development pressures is one of today’s most pressing environmental challenges. In response, “ecosystem services” has emerged as a conservation framework that links human economies and natural systems through the benefits that people receive from nature. In this dissertation, I investigate the science-policy interface of ecosystem services in order to understand the use of ecosystem service decision support tools and evaluate the pathways through which ecosystem services knowledge impacts decisions. In the first paper, I track an ecosystem service valuation project in California to evaluate how the project changes the social capacity to make conservation-oriented decisions and how decision-makers intend to use ecosystem services knowledge. In a second project, I analyze a global sample of cases and identify factors that can explain the impact of ecosystem services knowledge on decisions. I find that the perceived legitimacy of knowledge (whether it is unbiased and representative of many diverse viewpoints) is an important determinant of whether the knowledge impacts policy processes and decisions. For the third project, I focus on the global use of spatial ecosystem service models. I analyze country-level factors that are associated with use and the effect of practitioner trainings on the uptake of these decision support tools. Taken together, this research critically evaluates how ecosystem service interventions perform. The results can inform the design of boundary organizations that effectively link conservation science with policy action, and guide strategic efforts to protect, restore, and enhance ecosystem services.

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New Low-residency M.S. Offering!

MS Leadership for Sustainability

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Faculty Searches

The Rubenstein School is searching for several faculty positions, with an overall goal to enhance research, teaching, and service with a focus on sustainability in the context of global and domestic environmental equity:

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