University of Vermont


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A Semester of a Different Kind
The LANDS Program Field Semester, initiated in Fall of 2014, offers practical, field-based alternatives to traditional classroom learning environments with all the benefits of attending a major university.  This semester program is the first of many Vermont Field Studies programs.  Similar to a study abroad program, Vermont Field Studies programs are intensive, semester-long experiences.  As a participant, you’ll earn a full semester of academic credit while exploring landscapes throughout Vermont, developing professional skills, and applying your learning to important environmental and social issues. 

An Experiential Learning Model
When you sign up for the LANDS Field Semester, you won’t enroll in regular classes.  Instead, you and your team will receive specialized training to build knowledge and skills directly related to your VFS experience.  You will learn by doing, working with statewide partners to conduct professional projects and solve real-world problems.  You will be guided and supported along the way by two experienced program leaders, and a team of university faculty and outside professionals. The varied and beautiful Vermont landscape is your class room.

A Team Experience
Part of what makes intensive programs like this special is the strong bond that forms among group members. You and your "college conservation corps" team will learn together, travel together, work together and support each other. You will explore wild places, collaborate on complex projects and form lasting friendships as you share in the Field Semester adventure. 

Work to Help Community Partners
LANDS is about land stewardship, broadly defined.  This includes anything from assessing a property for rare plants before The Nature Conservancy purchases it, to measuring carbon stocks in a forest, to evaluating the threat from invasive species, to engaging in placed-based events with a local community.  LANDS crew projects typically focus on natural and cultural resource inventory, GPS and GIS mapping, report writing, and public presentations.  LANDS crews tackle advanced projects not usually associated with traditional corps/crews. Please visit Previous Projects to see LANDS deliverables. 

As a participant, you’ll explore ecological concepts and social issues relating to land conservation and stewardship while practicing skills including GIS, map and compass navigation, plant and wildlife identification, natural resource inventory, invasive species mapping and removal, and trail assessment and maintenance. You and your team will support conservation organizations including land trusts, state and local parks, and the US Forest Service in assessing, monitoring and managing conserved landscapes throughout Vermont and surrounding states. You’ll work together to create professional-quality maps and documents including baseline documentation reports and natural resource management plans.  You’ll earn academic credit while building a strong resume and preparing yourself for a successful career in natural resources and related fields. 

High-Quality Instruction
Your instructors will be faculty members from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont along with outside professionals including ecologists, land managers, consultants, and educators.  You will work closely with two full-time crew leaders who are experienced in leading groups, facilitating projects and working in the outdoors.

Who should apply?
Do you love spending time outside? Are you fascinated by the natural world? Do you enjoy working with a team? Are you passionate about conservation? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the LANDS Semester Program may be a good fit for you!

We are seeking students entering their junior or senior year in Fall 2015 in fields relating to natural resources, environmental sciences and environmental studies. Students from any college or university are encouraged to apply. To maintain a low student to teacher ratio and a small class size conducive to hands-on, field-based learning, enrollment will be limited to 18 students. 

How to apply: click on the "Apply to LANDS"" link, upper left
Questions? contact Deane Wang ( or Emily Brodsky (

What is the LANDS experience?

Last modified May 06 2015 10:47 AM

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