Forestry and Natural Resources Degree
Offered at: Larimer
Learning how to protect and cultivate nature is our responsibility. With a degree in forestry, wildlife, or natural resources from Front Range Community College, you’ll be on the forefront of conserving our planet. With engaging classes, hands-on practice, and a huge variety of field experience opportunities, the Forestry and Natural Resource degree program prepares you for a wide range of careers in natural resources. You'll participate in community natural resources projects to gain practical skills in forestry, wildlife, aquaculture, fisheries and wildland fire.
Choose from three A.A.S. two-year degrees and a variety of shorter-term, specialized certificates.
Forestry Technology Degree
A.A.S in Forestry Technology
In the Forestry Technology program you will explore GIS applications, tree care, soils, forestry research and harvesting, water movement, and wildlife and fisheries management, with special emphasis on the principles of forest science, forestry field research and field skills in hydrology and soil science.
Forestry Technology degree: See required courses and descriptions
What You Will Learn
Upon completion of the Forestry Technology degree, you will be able to:
- Identify regionally important forest vegetation by genus and species.
- Describe four basic silvicultural systems and harvest practices.
- Understand and demonstrate ability to manage forest resources for diverse user groups and management objectives including interpreting and implementing prescriptions for forest health treatments, wildland fire, prescribed fire, and logging.
- Explain the concept of forest succession, the silvics of different species, and how the abiotic and biotic components of the ecosystem affect each other.
- Identify threats to the forest ecosystem including fire, insects, and diseases, and describe management strategies for each.
- Demonstrate competency in forest inventorying methods and measurements, including tree diameter at breast height (DBH) and height, as well as forest basal area.
- Complete survey, mapping, and orienteering exercises.
- Apply technology (remote sensing and GIS) to collect and interpret forest data.
- Demonstrate proficiency with a chainsaw, tractors, ATV, and woods safety.
- Complete an internship and job skills workshop.
Natural Resources Degree
A.A.S in Natural Resources
In the Natural Resources degree program you will explore GIS systems, forest science principles, range land management, and wildlife and fisheries management. You'll participate in community natural resources projects to gain practical skills in forestry, wildlife, aquaculture, fisheries, wildland fire, and the computer analysis of natural resources.
Natural Resources degree: See required courses and descriptions
What You Will Learn
Upon completion of the Natural Resources degree, you will be able to:
- Understand relevant natural resource legislation.
- Understand the role of education, interpretation, and communication in natural resources.
- Demonstrate skills related to management of wildlife and fisheries such as animal ID, sampling techniques, and habitat assessments.
- Demonstrate skills related to management of forests including inventorying techniques, plant ID, and forest health monitoring.
- Understand and demonstrate ability to manage natural resources for diverse user groups.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the different land management agencies, their roles, missions, and occupational opportunities.
- Complete survey, mapping and orienteering exercises.
- Understand ecological functions related to hydrology, soil, vegetation, and nutrient and energy cycles.
Wildlife Technology Degree
A.A.S in Wildlife Technology
The Wildlife Technology degree prepares you for a career as a wildlife technician. It focuses on principles and research techniques to assist in wildlife and land management. You'll learn practical field skills, theory, and applications for the study and management of wildlife, fisheries, and wild bird populations.
This degree is accredited by the North American Wildlife Technology Association (NAWTA).
Wildlife Technology degree: See required courses and descriptions
What You Will Learn
Upon completion of the Wildlife Technology degree, you will be able to:
- Classify and identify wildlife species, their sign, and associated habitats in Colorado.
- Demonstrate wildlife and fisheries management techniques and methods pertaining to populations, occupancy, and distribution, including the use of fish hatcheries and aquaculture in managing fish populations.
- Understand and interpret population data and factors influencing populations.
- Describe and/or apply habitat management techniques including the operation of equipment used (ATV, Tractors, trucks, and trailers).
- Ability to conduct a literature review and synthesize findings.
- Discuss the role of conflict management/resolution in wildlife, fisheries, and natural resource management.
- Understand relevant natural resource legislation, current laws pertaining to wildlife and fisheries management, and the unique implications of the North American model of wildlife management.
- Demonstrate proficiency with data collection, and sampling and monitoring techniques including both invasive and non-invasive methods and tools.
- Complete data computations and communicate findings using spatial mapping and/or graphs and diagrams.
- Complete an internship and job skills workshop.
Forestry and Natural Resources Certificates
This certificate program introduces you to the history, legislation, principles, and goals of environmental literacy and education.
Environmental Education certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
This certificate program introduces you to the principles of forest science, dendrology, forest fire behavior, silviculture principles, and research techniques.
Forestry certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
This certificate program builds on the Forestry certificate and covers theory, philosophy, and applications for study and management of wildlife and fisheries resources. Field and laboratory methods are introduced.
Natural Resources certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
Natural Resources GIS
This certificate program introduces you to basic and advanced analytical tools as you develop skills in spatial problem solving.
Natural Resources GIS certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
Natural Resources Recreation
This certificate program combines lecture and practical outdoor experiences relating to problems and trends in outdoor recreation.
Natural Resources Recreation certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
This certificate program provides instruction on environmental factors that affect the start and spread of wildfire and recognition of potentially hazardous situations. Entry-level wildland firefighters skills are taught. Successful completion of this certificate can lead to a "Red Card," (the Interagency Incident Qualification Card to work as a wildland firefighter).
Wildland Fire certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
This certificate program covers theory, philosophy, and applications for the study and management of wildlife and fisheries resources.
Wildlife certificate: See required courses and descriptions.
Paid Internship Opportunity
Geo-Launchpad is a paid summer internship open to all community college students to develop research skills for a career in science, engineering, or technology. This eight week program takes place at UNAVCO located in Boulder, CO from early June to late July. Learn more.
Gain Field Experience
This program offers students a variety of opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in unique field settings. Here are just a few examples of some of the locations that students participate in field training. On average, this program utilizes 35 field sites per semester.
- MacGregor Ranch – This 1,200 acre private ranch is located in the beautiful Ponderosa Pine forests near Estes Park, CO. Students are currently studying the effects that a recent forest health restoration project has had on the Abert’s squirrel by conducting deer and elk population estimations using pellet count survey techniques, and monitoring posttreatment conditions using photopoints. Additionally, in odd years, this ranch hosts the field ecology course where students study the effects that elk browsing has had on the hydrology of the region, among other current wildlife and forestry issues.
- Horsetooth Mountain Park – Our Forestry Field Research class is taught at Horsetooth Mountain Park, where students work in 10 study plots to learn multiple timber cruising techniques, study forest entomology, and become proficient in identifying woody plants, forbs and trees of this foothills ecosystem.
- Reservoir Ridge – The Range Management and Restoration course conducts a semester long monitoring project in this city-owned natural area just north of Fort Collins. Students study grassland ecology and monitor the effects of disturbing events on the grassland system.
- Ben Delatour Scout Ranch – Ongoing forest restoration practices on this 3,200 acre ranch provides the perfect opportunity for our fire ecology course to study the effects prescribed burning and thinning have had in this ponderosa pine watershed. In addition, forest harvesting students get real-life experience developing forest management plans and implementing them by putting their chainsaw and skidding experience to practice.
- Red Feather Lakes Forest Research – Students conduct forest health inventories, timber cruise, and wildlife tracking surveys in this upper montane forest dominated by lodgepole pine.
- Cherokee Park – This montane shrubland and forest provides the perfect terrain to learn how to navigate with a map, a compass, and excellent orienteering skills.
- Bellvue/ Watson Fish Hatchery – Students in the Fisheries Management class learn aquaculture practices from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) professionals while utilizing active CPW fish hatcheries and rearing units for labs.
Unique Program Opportunities
Other interesting opportunities available to Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources students include:
- Honors Options – Students can take NRE 100 and NRE 205 as embedded honors courses. The honors option requires students to conduct independent research projects using wildlife cameras and habitat assessments. Learn more about the Larimer Campus Honors Program.
- Equipment operation training– Students are trained in heavy equipment and ATV operation as well as safe operation of chainsaws and other natural resource management specific tools and equipment.
- Red Card certification – Students can earn a Red Card qualification card (the Interagency Incident Qualification Card to work as a wildland firefighter).
- Society of American Foresters – This award-winning student group offers community involvement opportunities, wildlife surveys, forest restoration activities, Christmas tree cutting and sales, multiple service projects, and much more.
- Volunteer Opportunities – Students are actively connected with opportunities to build their experiences through volunteer opportunities in our community. Black-footed ferret spotlight surveys are just one example of the many unique experiences our students take advantage of each year.
- Internships – Students in the program are connected to local employers to obtain on-the-job training. Internships often are an integral connection for a student’s future employment.
Students are highly encouraged to obtain summer employment while in the program and upon completion. The majority of students seeking summer employment in natural resources receive positions in the field. Some of the employers include Colorado Parks and Wildlife, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas and Forestry departments, Rocky Mountain National Park, Larimer County Wildland Fire, Larimer County Natural Resources, Boulder County, Colorado State Forest Service, and the United States Forest Service, and other natural resource agencies around the United States.
Forestry Jobs & Salaries
|Forest and Conservation Technician||$29,376||$39,116||$43,986|
Colorado Dept. of Labor & Employment
Occupational Employment Statistics Survey (2018)
Program Graduate Outcomes