Who We Are
The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) is a multidisciplinary community of scholars engaged in the traditional land grant mission areas of education, research and extension. Our community is composed of people with diverse expertise, experiences, interests, values and beliefs, from many nations, ages, genders, sexual orientation, abilities, and disparate economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds. We define our community inclusively, including faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, and our colleagues and partners in state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation-focused non-governmental organizations, many of whom are also alums.
What binds us together is our collective dedication to using scientific information and approaches to contribute to the solution of pressing environmental problems, to increase the understanding of complex social-environmental systems, and to foster the wise management of public trust natural resources.
We acknowledge that the land on which we work within Connecticut is the territory of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Nipmuc, and Lenape Peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.
A sustainable future for all living things; informed by applications of our scientific research, managed wisely by the educational foundation provided to students, and inspired through public engagement with our extension programming.
The mission of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment is to provide high-quality undergraduate and graduate education, to generate new knowledge by conducting research, and to provide extension and outreach programs in the field of natural resources and associated environmental sciences.
Our research enterprise mobilizes science across the spectrum of basic to applied inquiry, drawing from social and biophysical disciplines to inform natural resources conservation, environmental quality protection, and to sustain critical ecosystem services within complex social-environmental systems. Research foci within the Department are clustered around water resources and wetlands, forestry and forested landscapes, fisheries and wildlife conservation, and remote sensing of the environment. The Department places distinct emphasis on the challenges associated with expanding exurban landscapes and the associated interfaces between rural and urban environments. We don’t stop there. Our research spans the globe and presents conservation for co-existence as a guiding force to steer our planet towards a sustainable future.
In the classroom we prepare students for careers and leadership in state and federal natural resources and environmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, land trusts, and environmental consulting firms. We instill the skills that form the foundation of scientific inquiry, including the ability to collect environmental data outdoors, geo-reference sampling locations, on through analysis and interpretation with a focus on generating actionable recommendations for conservation, management, protection, and restoration.
Our Extension programming translates our environmental expertise into engagement with the public to benefit their lives at the places they live and work. These programs target home and land-owners, municipal officials, as well as teens and adults wanting to contribute to place-based environmental action in their communities.