The Field Naturalist Program
Giving Field Naturalists the tools they need to move the world
What is the Field Naturalist Program?
The Field Naturalist Graduate Program is much like a good medical school for general practitioners. A general practitioner looks at the entire patient and the surrounding influences and asks, "What is going on here and why? How are the different parts connected and functioning to produce this particular situation?" Field Naturalists ask similar questions, the difference being that they function within the fields of ecology, hydrology, geology, botany, zoology, and soil science.
Good general practitioners have an approach—that is their specialty. If the problem is kidney-related (or hydrology-related), the general practitioner identifies it as such and can discuss the problem with specialists and develop an overall plan to address the problem. But kidneys and hydrology are only pieces of a larger, more complicated system. To ignore the system's other pieces, or to ignore the system as a whole, is myopic and fraught with peril.
Field Naturalists understand the pieces, but they also understand the system and how the pieces collectively drive the system. But understanding how an ecosystem functions—or how a complex environmental problem can be resolved—is not enough. To be effective, general practitioners must be able to communicate their understanding to professional and lay audiences in clear, synthetic, understandable ways. The Field Naturalist Program prepares its graduate students to do all these things, and to do them exceptionally well.
Field Naturalist Program - Department of Plant Biology
111 Jeffords Hall - 63 Carrigan Drive
University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405
(802) 656-2930 - Lillian.Reade@uvm.edu
Last modified October 05 2010 01:26 PM