August 21, 2018 Tara Jo Holmberg

Natural Resources

Associate in Science Degree

Program Coordinator: Tara Jo Holmberg, 860.738.6363

Welcome to NCCC’s exciting Natural Resources Associates Degree program!

Program Advisor: Tara Jo Holmberg (Email Preferred)

There are few degrees that could be more useful in understanding the world around us. As we head into a future where resources become increasingly limited, having an understanding of how our world stays healthy is paramount. Through this, we may find solutions for a more sustainable future. Couple this with the fact that resources (and how they’re handled) ultimately control markets and geopolitical stability. Without an understanding of environmental science, we cannot influence which direction our world goes.

~Nic DiPerro, Alumni

I have actually spoken to a few people and suggested the Environmental Sciences/Natural Resources program at NCCC. I’ve let them all know that when I went on to pursue my Bachelor’s in Biology at CCSU I felt extremely prepared. In fact, I was even a little more prepared than the students who had been at CCSU since their freshman year. The Integrated Biology class (Bio III) was basically a refresher of the Bio I and II courses I studied at NCCC. I had no issues transitioning into the Bachelor’s courses, and even saved a little money starting off at NCCC 🙂

~Amy Charlton, Alumni, Army Corps of Engineers Ranger, Connecticut


This program is designed for students with an interest in environmental science, forestry, fisheries, conservation ecology, environmental biology, sustainability, wildlife management, soil science, environmental health and monitoring, sustainable agriculture/horticulture, and resource economics. A degree in natural resources provides students with a strong background in basic sciences, including life and the physical sciences, in addition to introducing them to concepts in nature conservancy, resource management, and environmental risk and assessment.

Times are changing, and they’re changing rapidly. There seems to be a large disconnect in people’s understanding that humans are not above the environment. The actions we take play an important role on the world around us. It is up to the new generation to have a positive impact, and lead the way in making a change. There is still so much knowledge that can be attained and so much good that can be done

~Pat Carr, Alumni, National Parks Wildlife Surveyor


The Natural Resources program at NCCC will continue to provide a quality science-based education for students looking to pursue careers studying and improving the interface between the built and natural environments.  The programs will continue to grow and will be maintained to reflect the current scientific foci, theories, issues, and adaptation/mitigation strategies in the various professions and fields of study represented by this degree.  The program will be overseen by a Program Coordinator who has the responsibility of outreach and recruitment for the program, in addition to advising and curriculum/program development.

NCCC will devote funding to the program such that the field and indoor labs can be run with the most up-to-date equipment and that software can be purchased.  In addition, the Natural Resources program will be promoted and marketed as one that is rapidly growing and in demand throughout the various sectors of the local, regional, and nationwide economies.

What Can I Do With This Major?

I grew up hunting, fishing, and enjoying outdoor recreation as a whole with beloved friends and family. As someone who recognizes the value of our environment, from both recreational and ecological standpoints, I wish to dedicate my efforts to remediation and conservation to provide future generations with the same experiences and quality of life that I have enjoyed. By studying environmental science, I have been enabled to contribute to this cause.

~Nick Lockwood, Alumni, Internship with FRCC

Careers and Transfer

Students enrolled in the Natural Resources program at NCCC prepare for careers in sustainable agriculture/horticulture, forest and fisheries management, marine science, conservation enforcement, wetlands and watershed management, land use and planning, environmental biology, environmental research, as well as natural resources consulting, monitoring, remediation, and oversight. Students may choose to transfer into programs such as those offered through the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources at UCONN, the School of Arts and Sciences at Central Connecticut State University, the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences as Western Connecticut State University, and many other college and university programs across the state, region, and country.

Once I transferred to my graduate school I realized how immensely NCCC was a way ahead of the curve of learning. Many of the labs that I took at NCCC we’re the same style labs that I took at a 4-year university. Procedures and lab reports came fairly easily for me, and I was able to quickly begin an internship with the FRCC [Farmington River Coordinating Committee]. Which let me work directly in the field of my hometown.

~Ella McPherson, Alumni

When I feel discouraged, I think about all of the jobs that I would rather NOT be doing. I think about how awesome it is that I have my degree backing me so I can work at a job that I actually enjoy. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am today, and I’m proud of what I do!

~Sarah Charlton, Alumni, White Flower Farm Botany Department


Upon successful completion of all program requirements, graduates should be able to do the following:

1. Demonstrate basic laboratory skills and a working knowledge of safety procedures.
2. Understand and be able to apply the scientific method of inquiry.
3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis.
4. Understand basic cellular and organismal biological principles.
5. Explain organismal energy and nutrient requirements in addition to the general structure and function of the six kingdoms of life.
6. Use a dichotomous key for organism identification.
7. Demonstrate a working knowledge of community species interactions, ecosystem dynamics, and successional states.
8. Explain the various processes that shape communities from terrestrial and aquatic community structure sampling and analysis.
9. Explain the principles of evolution, natural selection, genetics, and ecology.
10. Demonstrate basic understanding of chemical concepts, including chemical formulas, compounds, reactions, basic acid/base theory, solutions, and gasses.
11. Demonstrate a basic understanding of field sampling, soil composition, and pH testing.
12. Define the term natural resources and identify some important environmental concerns we face today
13. Evaluate the major environmental risks we face and describe how science and risk assessment inform decision-making.
14. Identify the importance of wicked problems, resilience, and adaptive management in planning.
15. Transfer to a 4-year program and prepare for a career in Natural Resources, Biological Sciences or Environmental Science.


Students have transferred to many bachelor-degree institutions. Some alumni are also now pursuing MS and PhDs in related fields of study. Just some of their transfer colleges and universities are listed below:

Alumni Transfer Institutions

Central Connecticut State University
University of Connecticut
Eastern Connecticut State University
Marist College
Connecticut College
Trinity University
University of Montana
University of Wisconsin
Evergreen State College
University of Vermont
University of New Hampshire
Saint Joseph’s University
University of Southern Maine
George Mason University


Recommended Coursework for 2 Year Graduation (61-62 credits)

Semester 1 (14 credits)

ENG* 101 Composition (3)
EVS* 100 Introduction to Environmental Science (3)
EVS* 135 Exploring Environmental Careers (1)
BIO* 178 General Ecology OR BIO* 270 Ecology (4)
Humanities or Arts Elective (3)*
*See Faculty Program Advisor

Semester 2 (17 credits)

ENG* 102 Literature & Composition (3)
BIO* 121 General Biology I (4)
MAT* 186 Precalculus OR BIO* 122 General Biology II (4)
CSA* 135 Spreadsheet Apps (3)
Behavioral Science Elective (3)*
*See Faculty Program Advisor

Semester 3 (16 credits)

CHE* 121 General Chemistry I (4)
COM* 173 Public Speaking (3)
MAT* 167 Principles of Statistics (3)
HIS* Elective (200 level) (3)*
Social Science Elective (3)*
*See Faculty Program Advisor

Semester 4 (14/15 credits)

BIO* 235 Microbiology (4)
MAT* 186 Precalculus OR BIO* 122 General Biology II (4)
Natural/Physical Science Elective (3/4)*
Liberal Arts Elective (3)*
*See Faculty Program Advisor