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jackie schnurr


“We’re outside as much as possible, doing hands-on projects and research,” says Associate Professor of Biology Jackie Schnurr about her coursework. Over the summer of 2014, Professor Schnurr and two of her students teamed up on a special research project investigating the development of flowering plants in forested areas. Read more about Professor Schnurr's teaching philosophy.

Environmental Science

Imagine a classroom complete with animals, trees, lakes, streams, and rivers and-no walls. Now picture yourself in an environmental science classroom at Wells College.

Here, our classrooms are intimately linked to the spectacular natural setting that surrounds the Wells campus, allowing for a sense of place as well as an appreciation of both nature’s awesome beauty and its impact upon the human experience. It's a perfect setting in which to examine the earth, its ecosystems, environmental problems and environmental problem-solving from a viewpoint that emphasizes a scientific approach as a key component of effective environmental stewardship.

The number of courses required for the major is the equivalent of 14 courses of 3-4 semester hours each (45-50 semester hours). Off-campus study courses may substitute for some of the requirements.

Environmental Science faculty:

In addition to competitive core courses in ecology, geology, conservation and others, each student chooses an area of specialization based on their primary interests in the earth system. All work with Wells' own Professor of Environmental Science Niamh O' Leary and Associate Professor of Biology Jackie Schnurr, who continually demonstrate their extensive knowledge and deep understanding of the issues we face, potential solutions, and the process for bringing these answers to the surface. Read more about our faculty.

Internships and Study Abroad

Environmental Science majors experience a wealth of hands-on learning in surroundings areas, including Cayuga Lake. Many also choose internships with direct environmental contact or discover government and private sector positions involving policy, values, and scientific research. Wells alumnae who are established leaders in their fields often provide internship opportunities for current students. The following is a sample of internships recently held by environmental science students at Wells:

  • Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Ithaca, NY 

  • Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY 

  • Upstate Freshwater Institute, Syracuse, NY 

  • Rogers Environmental Interpretation Institute, Sherburne, NY 

  • US Forest Service, Gorham, NH

Explore complex ecosystems in Cork, Ireland while you discover how other countries grapple with environmental phenomena. Focus on tropical biodiversity in Panama, or wildlife in Tanzania. Take a summer to explore sustainable development in Costa Rica, or explore marine resources on South Caicos Island in the Caribbean. Wells makes it possible. Environmental Science majors can pursue fascinating programs across the country and around the world – Check out our off-campus study programs.

Co-Curricular Opportunities

Develop your scientific interests further with out-of-the-classroom opportunities for learning and fun! Use your understanding of ethics and responsible policy to make a change for the better – either on campus or in the world at large. Below are just a few clubs and activities that might catch your interest:

  • FORCES (Friends of Recreation, Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship)
  • Collegiate (student government) 

  • Amnesty International 

  • Community Court 

  • Student Committee on Inclusive and Intercultural Excellence

  • Wells Greens