Relational learning refers to learning with peers in experiential settings. Students develop cohorts with one another and gain valuable work/life experience simultaneously.

In the ENVS major, we have several relational learning opportunities including:

Fellowship & Restoration in Ecology

“The Fellowship in Restoration Ecologies and Cultures: Training Leaders for the Green Work Force,” funded by a $40,000 grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation.

The proposal was developed by Professor of Geography & GeoSciences Cheryl Morse and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources Senior Lecturer Amy Seidl, who have taught courses related to the environment for a collective 25 years. Each scholar brings a different area of expertise to the table—for Morse it’s working landscapes, place and identity; for Seidl it is sustainability science, ecology and restoration.

Thesis Research

Brendan Fisher is the lead person for this type of research. Dr. Brendan Fisher is a Professor at the University of Vermont. His research and fieldwork lie at the nexus of conservation, development, natural resource economics and human behavior. Students must take ENVS 201, Research Methods in preparation to do thesis research with ENVS faculty. Students take ENVS 201 in the fall of their junior year and then embark on a year-long research project guided by ENVS faculty.


What’s the meaning of life? How do we create a just society? What defines beauty? What is our place in the natural world? How does science move society forward? If you have a passion for really big questions like these, the Liberal Arts Scholars Program (LASP) is a rewarding choice. In this first-year program, you will take a series of integrated courses exploring core moral, aesthetic, social, environmental and scientific issues. The program launches your undergraduate education through deep exploration into the big questions faced by humans since antiquity—questions we grapple with today.

LASP offers residentially based seminars, which means you spend your first year of college living and learning with passionate, like-minded peers who share your interest in thoroughly exploring topics from many different points of view, in several integrated classes. The conversations don’t stop when classes are over—they continue through shared meals, in your residence hall, and through many structured and unstructured activities throughout the year. The community you build is deep and lasting—a community you will take with you for your next three years of college and beyond.

Natural Areas Stewardship Program

UVM is responsible for the identification, protection, and management of important natural areas on University-owned lands.

From over 1,000 acres along the shoreline of Shelburne Pond to less than three acres at Redstone Quarry, these natural areas provide outstanding resources to meet the teaching and research needs in disciplines that require or can benefit from field experience.

Birding to Change the World

Place-based course and service learning lab that pairs UVM students as enviro-mentors with children in Burlington schools in an after-school birding and nature study club. Application and background check required of enrolled students. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

Be the change: “Birding to Change the World” is a community-based course to meet a public health need to get kids outside. This course pairs UVM students as enviro-mentors with children at Flynn Elementary School and Hunt Middle School in Burlington’s New North End, five miles from campus. The class requires humility, patience, persistence, flexibility, long underwear (over half the course is taught outside), and a sense of humor.

View the UVM and NBC news articles about this course and the instructor.

Community Forests

The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program works collaboratively between the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, University of Vermont Extension, and the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry.

Agroecology Fellowship Program

The Agroecology Extension (AX) Summer Research Fellowship is uniquely tailored for students looking to deepen their knowledge of sustainable agricultural approaches and developing transdisciplinary research and outreach skills.

The goals of the AX Fellowship are to:
- Provide students with a transdisciplinary experiential learning experience focused on the development of adaptable research, leadership, and outreach skills
- Help prepare students for careers and graduate education in agroecology and extension
- Match students with UVM faculty and staff working directly with farmers to develop innovative approaches in support of farmer livelihoods s
- Support and contribute to new and ongoing extension projects dedicated to UVM’s Land Grant mission.

Landscape Design

The Landscape Design concentration integrates agroecological principles in the design of multifunctional landscapes. Students will learn the skills needed to meet current environmental challenges through a curriculum that includes ecology, soil science, horticulture, art and landscape design. There is a growing need for professionals who can design sustainable solutions for our natural and built environments.

This concentration is for you if:
- You want to be part of the solution, increasing efforts to ensure more sustainable landscape use for future generations.
- You love plants and/or want to learn more about how they fit into designed spaces.
- You would like to create functional beauty - planned landscapes that also restore natural processes and improve human livelihoods