WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Department of Forestry and
Natural Resources at Purdue University has a longstanding reputation for its
quality education, Extension work and efforts to conserve natural resources in
The department celebrated its centennial in September 2013.
Student, faculty and staff are continually working to improve the land and water
“The department focuses largely on the sustainable
management of natural resources,” said Julie Pluimer, academic adviser in the
“We have roughly 260 undergraduate students and currently
offer four majors — fisheries and aquatic sciences, wildlife, forestry and wood
products manufacturing technology. The majority of our graduates are hired by
state and federal agencies, like the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.”
Students learn to manage habitats and keep plant and animal
Those studying forestry can focus on the more traditional
aspects of managing forested tracts of land all the way to a newer niche, urban
forestry. Fisheries and aquatic sciences majors learn to manage fish populations
in freshwater systems.
In addition to bachelor of science degrees, the department
also offers master’s and doctorate degrees.
A large amount of Extension work also is conducted in the
“Purdue is a land-grant institution, so one of our charges
is to take the cutting-edge research conducted here and translate it for
homeowners, landowners and growers,” Pluimer said. “We want to use the results
of the department research to make positive impacts in the daily lives of
Every major within the department is associated with a
student organization, giving students plenty of extracurricular options. The
department hosts student chapters of the Society of American Foresters, the
Wildlife Society and the American Fisheries Society, to name a few.
“In addition to social interaction, the clubs give students
opportunities to gain skills that they can list on a resume and network with
professionals and alumni,” Pluimer said.
Students in the department are bound by one thing: Their
common love for nature.
“We get a lot of students that come in and say, ‘I want to
work outside,’” Pluimer said. “Students with an interest in natural science and
the outdoors would be a good fit for our majors.”
The job market can be competitive for some of graduates, she
said, but the department provides opportunities to prepare students for
“Another common theme throughout our curricula is being good
stewards of the land,” she said.
This is something farmers and graduates have in common.
“We’re teaching students to protect those resources that are
so important,” Pluimer said. “Many majors in the College of Agriculture focus
broadly on producing food for a growing population. We focus specifically on how
to manage our natural resources.”