Learn from the Landscape: Study Ecosystem Science & Management at 10,200′

Ecosystem science & management virtual info session on Jan 27

CMC Leadville Ecosystem science & management program virtual open house on Jan 27, 2021

Colorado Mountain College Leadville introduces a revitalized course pathway for Ecosystem Science & Management

Meet your professors and learn more at the Virtual Information Night on January 27 at 5pm

Wade into streams to test water quality and monitor fish populations. Hike into high-alpine meadows to analyze wetlands for conservation efforts. Students seeking an environmental education with strong experiential components will find success in Leadville. 

Ecosystem Science & Management is a promising pathway for environmentally conscious students just starting out on their academic adventure. Complete two years of education at Colorado Mountain College Leadville and earn an Associate of Science (AS) with an emphasis in Ecosystem Science & Management (ESM)—providing foundational knowledge and the initial degree necessary for continued education in this field. 

Learning with Altitude

The Ecosystem Science & Management pathway is only offered at Colorado Mountain College‘s Leadville campus. The high-altitude, outdoor-centric community is an ideal location to study ecosystem science. The mountains provide unique place-based educational opportunities, where students can learn from the landscape.

“Individual science classes may be available at other campuses, but it’s how it’s being taught that is different in Leadville,” says Brit Rasmussen, Admissions and Enrollment Specialist at CMC Leadville, “We’re in the field more than other CMC campuses and our instructors specialize in the integration between all the courses you’ll be taking.”

Experiential Education

Snowshoe into the campus-owned forest to measure tree growth. Analyze water samples with industry standard field and lab equipment. Learn about plants, fungi, and wildlife by exploring surrounding wilderness areas. 

“Students will gain practical skills in collecting, measuring and analyzing data,” says Monia Haselhorst, Department Chair of Environmental, Ecosystem, and Earth Sciences at Colorado Mountain College, “These sought-after skills will lay a strong base for most careers inside this field.”

The Field Experience Lab connects course-work with real-world projects through student-focussed internship opportunities. Students will be prepared for a seasonal entry-level position with non-profit, private and governmental organizations.

Transfer Program

The course pathway for Ecosystem Science & Management (ESM) is designed to offer a two-year curriculum with credits that will easily transfer to another college or university. In addition to an Associate of Science (AS) with an emphasis in Ecosystem Science & Management (ESM), graduates will gain foundational knowledge required for continued education. An AS with an emphasis in ESM is the ideal degree to build upon while pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science—the next step towards a rewarding career studying ecosystems. 

Though Colorado Mountain College does offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sustainability Studies, CMC doesn’t currently offer a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Ecosystem Science or a related, science-based field. All classes including in the ESM curriculum are guaranteed to transfer with ease to another Colorado institution. 

Ecosystem Science or Environmental Science?

Ecology, or ecosystem science, is a specific branch of environmental science that examines the relationships between organisms and their physical surroundings. For example, an ecosystem scientist analyzes observations of animals in their habitats to better understand how human behavior affects their population. Typically there is more field work associated with a career as an ecosystem scientist.

Environmental science is a broad interdisciplinary field that includes biology, geology, meteorology, chemistry, physics and ecology. Environmental scientists focus on humans’ impact on the environment and their research often influences government policies. Most environmental scientists work to protect the environment from factors like climate change and pollution. 

“Environmental science is much broader,” says Monia Haselhorst, “Ecosystem science is an element of environmental science. An ecosystem scientist will take field samples and write an environmental assessment. An environmental scientist will use the ecosystem scientist’s assessment to justify a policy change.”


Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Ecosystem Science & Management have a variety of rewarding career opportunities. They may manage natural resources for the U.S. Forest Service or study migration patterns for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many ecosystem science professionals have gratifying careers with federal agencies and others build successful consulting businesses working in the private sector.

Thanks to a partnership between Colorado Mountain College and the U.S. Forest Service, students currently enrolled in the Ecosystem Science & Management pathway may also be eligible for a part-time paid internship position. The Rocky Mountain Land Management Internship program is designed to train the next generation of land managers and natural resource specialists while providing a pathway to employment.

Virtual Info Night

Meet your professors and learn more about the curriculum at the Ecosystem Science & Management Virtual Information Night on January 27 at 5pm. 

Register and receive a link for the Zoom session: https://colomtn.me/ESMInfoSP21