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AA Natural Resources Management
The AA degree in Natural Resource and Environmental Management is a two-year field-based program. The program consists of a combination of courses in the area of terrestrial, watershed, marine and recreational ecology and resources management.This program currently offers 15 credits towards a minor in Natural Resources Management for student pursuing a first degree in Biology. All first-year students concentrate their efforts on core courses, with NRMP 101 Environmental Conservation and Development being the only environmental course.On their second year, students take all professional courses, having finished core requirements.This allows the NRM faculty to plan field trips together without worrying about trip times clashing with other courses.Although first year students are not obligated to be involved in field activities, those activities are open to them and faculty meet with these students routinely throughout the semester, involving them in NRM activities.
Students in the second year of the associate degree are involved in collecting data for rapid ecological assessments, environmental impact assessment exercises, social impact assessments and other applied activities.Emphasis is placed on completing project reports and submitting copies to stakeholders by the end of the semester.Select courses are built around specific projects, with class time being used for lectures, planning sessions and presentations.Students also participate in additional field trips and workshops on a space available basis.
After completing the Associates Degree program, former students are generally employed as field technicians within GOB agencies, NGOs and select industries, become educators in public and private school systems or leave Belize for further studies.However, the two-year program does not fully prepare students with the skills and technical knowledge for advanced assessment, monitoring and research activities. Students are therefore encouraged to continue their education in the B.Sc. programs offered at UB, if not abroad.
B.Sc. Natural Resources ManagementThe B.Sc. degree in Natural Resources Management is a multi-disciplinary program offering concentrations in Terrestrial/Watershed Resources Management and Marine Resources Management. The program is being designed to:
- Offer up to date theory and methodology
- Present project-based field courses
- Provide environmental assessment, monitoring, rehabilitation and restoration services to communities, the nation and the region through student involvement
- Promote research
- Develop students’ professional skills and experiences
- Give students the opportunity to specialize in select areas of environmental concern
- Allow students to participate in internship and apprenticeship program
NRM B.Sc. is a two-year program that consists of additional NRM professional courses.These professional core place heavy emphasis in developing assessment, monitoring and research skills applicable to the duties of NRM professionals and involve both ecosystem and community-based project areas.Besides soil and water quality analysis, macroinvertebrate taxonomy, algal ecology and taxonomy, vertebrate ecology, GIS/mapping, environmental chemistry and environmental microbiology, courses also include such areas as project development and management and methods for community-based conservation.Most of these courses are offered as project-based field courses.Along with the professional core, each student also has to attend seminars, participate in workshops and conferences, and submit a project proposal for a Bachelor’s thesis to be conducted during their last year.Project proposals are developed in conjunction with the student, two faculty members and a representative from the project site or the organization involved in the topic.During the last year, each student works on her or his project and is required to keep a project log, data, compile a specimen collection (when applicable), and submit a project thesis written according to a prescribed format with the final report submitted in both hard copy and electronic formats.
During their first year in the B.Sc. program, all students do professional NRM courses in a semester long sequence and choose their specialization stream (in Marine Resources Management or in Terrestrial Resources Management) in their second year in a modular sequence which is offered at an on-going project site.Students attend lectures, conduct field activities, working in lab settings, analyzing data and helping compile the course activities report.Once a field course is completed, students will enter the next field course following a one-day break.This process continues until all courses have been completed.Deliverables at the end of the semester include detailed reports, rapid ecological assessments (REA), maps and reference specimens. Other efforts include water quality and macroinvertebrate assessment, diatom and plankton studies, community consultation and ultimately the design and implementation of riparian reforestation projects, installing bioremediation systems and enhancing community awareness of environmental issues and solutions. This are long-term project covering several years.