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Department of Natural Resources Management


Dr. Joshua L. Sloan, Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Forestry,
Ivan Hilton Science Center, Room 335
Phone: 505-454-3208  Fax: 505-454-3103

The Natural Resources Management (NRM) Department includes the disciplines of Environmental Geology and Forestry that work collaboratively to provide opportunities for students to attain an exceptional education in natural resources management. Areas of study focus on understanding natural and man-made environments and sustaining the health of humans as well as organisms and ecosystems on which humans depend for water, air, soils, minerals, fuels, foods, and esthetics. The NRM Department offers instructional programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Conservation Management and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Environmental Geology and Forestry. Various concentrations and minors are offered within these programs. The Natural Resources Management Department also offers a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) minor and a GIS undergraduate certificate.

Mission of the Department of Natural Resources Management

The mission of the NRM Department academic programs is to provide students with a solid understanding of the natural environment and to improve the utilization and stewardship of land, water, and forest resources. The allied degree programs in Conservation Management, Environmental Geology, and Forestry offer high quality instruction that includes hands-on learning, field immersion, and laboratory experience. Both the Environmental Geology and Forestry degrees instill scientific and technical backgrounds that empower students to successfully pursue science and technology careers or proceed to advanced graduate studies. The NRM professors strive to make each student’s educational experience challenging and rewarding.



James R. Biggs, Ph.D. (Forestry) Email 

Blanca Cespedes, Ph.D. (Forestry) Email 

F. Craig Conley (Forestry)  Email   |  Bio sketch

Jennifer L. Lindline (Geology)  Email  |  Bio sketch  |  Vita

Michael S. Petronis (Geology)  Email  |  Bio sketch  |  Vita

Kyle Rose (Forestry) Email 

Joshua L. Sloan, Ph.D. (Forestry) Email 

Julie Tsatsaros, Ph.D. (Forestry) Email

Joseph P. Zebrowski, MS (Geographic Information Science) Email


Conservation Management (BA)

Conservation Management provides students with skills to integrate the diverse array of social, political, legal, institutional, cultural, economic, ecological, and biophysical considerations inherent in attaining environmental and resource management goals.  This degree prepares students for a variety of careers in research, industry, education, government, or public service. Students must complete a total of 43 to 46 hours in anthropology, biology, chemistry, forestry, and geology. The University requires at least 45 credit hours in upper (300-400 level) courses. The BA in Conservation Management requires a minor.


Environmental Geology (BS)

Environmental Geology is an interdisciplinary major concerned with the practical application of the principles of geology in the solving of environmental problems. Environmental Geology deals with earth resources, geologic hazards, and the interaction of humans with the environment. Courses are designed to provide students with scientific knowledge, mathematical proficiency, research skills, technical abilities, and writing competencies to launch exciting and rewarding careers in the geosciences. The Environmental Geology B.S. offers three concentrations of study – Environmental Science, Geology, and Water Resources. The concentrations share a core set of chemistry, math, and physics foundational courses after which students focus on a series of upper-division courses in their intended concentration. In each concentration, students master content knowledge in basic areas of geology (earth materials, geologic hazards, and environmental law and policy), critical and reflective thinking skills, effective use of technology, and effective written and oral communication skills. All three degree tracks offer field study, laboratory experience, independent research, and elective coursework. Environmental Geology students are not required to take a minor, but those concentrating in Geology are required to take a summer field course (GEOL 375) prior to graduation. Graduates of the Environmental Geology program have excellent career opportunities in water, mineral, and energy resource exploration, resource recovery, resource management, water minimization, pollution prevention, contamination remediation, and environmental protection.

The Environmental Science concentration focuses on the application of geologic, physical, biological, and chemical principles to the study of the physical environmental and the solution of a wide range of environment problems. The Environmental Science degree track is deliberately designed to be sufficiently flexible to allow students, with close guidance from a faculty adviser, to design a major program, emphasizing a variety of specific approaches to studying earth’s environment, based on a firm foundation of supporting sciences and ending with a project-oriented capstone course. The Geology concentration is designed to provide quantitative preparation for career pathways involving interdisciplinary study of the environment, with a geological emphasis. It highlights those subjects that are most relevant to society, including hydrology, geomorphology, earth materials, geochemistry, and soil science, as well as the tools and techniques for environmental geology study. The Water Resources concentration is designed to provide disciplinary and interdisciplinary preparation for positions in industries or agencies requiring diversified experience in water science and management. Coursework emphasizes surface and ground water hydrology, water science, watershed management, watershed restoration, geochemistry, and water policy.

Career Paths | Department Faculty | Field Trips | Geology Lab Information Links | Job Listings |Salary Expectations


Forestry (BS)

The mission of the Forestry program in the Department of Natural Resources Management is to engage in teaching, research, and service in forestry to promote the sustainable management of forest resources. The Forestry teaching program seeks to enhance the competency and excellence of the forestry profession. The undergraduate Forestry degree program is designed to educate well-rounded, technologically proficient, and ecologically aware forest managers, providing them with a background sufficient to enable them to support the continued health, integrity, and use of forests for the benefit of society. Being part of a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the Forestry program seeks to address the needs of underrepresented students in the forestry profession.

Forestry is the application of scientific principles to the sustainable management of forest resources, including a wide range of ecosystem services (e.g., non-timber forest products, wildlife, medicinal herbs, and craft materials), fresh water, and biodiversity. The primary goal of the forestry program is to train technically competent forest and natural resources managers who understand the ecological notions that underpin human use of forest resources. Graduates of the Forestry Program meet all federal requirements for employment as a professional forester. Students receive training in the various techniques used to determine resource quantities and qualities, economic values, and social constraints in the management of natural resources. Students who major in forestry are not required to take a minor. A summer field course is required of all students prior to their graduation. Students who wish to pursue graduate degrees should talk to an adviser about recommended coursework.

The BS in Forestry offers two concentrations of study – Forest Management and Wildland Fire. The Forest Management concentration focuses on the management of timber as well as a wide range of ecosystem services produced by private and public lands. The Wildland Fire program, one of the few in the country, offers state of the art instruction in the use and management of fire on the broad landscapes of the west. In this era of rapid environmental change, these forestry fields are in increasing demand. After graduation, New Mexico Highlands University forestry students are prepared to meet that demand and embark on exciting and rewarding careers. The NMHU Forestry Program is provisionally accredited by the Society of American Foresters.

Placement Rates

Accredited by the Society of American Foresters


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Programs

GIS is a computer-based database management system for capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial data. The GIS minor and certificate program provide students with a basic proficiency with cutting edge GIS technology that can immediately be applied in the workplace, a highly marketable skill-base when seeking employment, and/or skills for pursuing an advanced degree in GIS. The GIS minor consist of 21-22 credit hours and the GIS certificate program requires 17-19 credit hours. Both programs afford students with a conceptual base and technical skills in using a desktop GIS and applying GIS across disciplines to solve real-world problems. Each GIS option includes 5 geology courses and an additional geology upper-division elective. Students who complete the GIS minor or GIS certificate program are prepared to map data for decision-making in business, environmental protection, risk assessment, utility planning and management, emergency response, land use planning, transportation planning, delivery route planning, real estate, crime prevention, and other areas.


Resources and Facilities

The Department of Natural Sciences is housed in the Ivan Hilton Science and Technology Building. Modern classrooms and spacious laboratories showcase state-of-the-art analytical equipment and modern safety features and provide students with hands-on, student-centered learning environments.

For more information about our research facilities click here.


This department is under the College of Arts and Science