D&E introduces new programs in sustainable natural resources, forest technology

ELKINS – Embracing Randolph County’s rich heritage in natural resources and forestry, Davis & Elkins College will offer two new programs of study beginning in fall 2022. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in sustainable natural resources or an Associate of Science degree in forest technology will complete much of their field study on a 300-acre tract of land gifted to the College by Trustee Chair Emerita June Myles.

“Randolph County is a natural classroom and laboratory for studies in the conservation and management of our natural resources,” Myles said. “Likewise, to make use of this learning, the area offers many opportunities for internships and careers, both private and public. In addition to timber and energy, there is an abundance of outdoor recreational activities requiring management. So, it is logical that D&E should embark on a new curriculum to make use of the possibilities for its students in the College’s backyard.”

Myles’ father, the late George A. Myles, founded Myles Lumber Company in Randolph County and was a longtime proponent of the state’s forest industry.

“D&E is so grateful to June Myles for her continuing generosity and her strong desire to have this College transform the lives of students and produce graduates who will serve this local community and beyond,” said Davis & Elkins College President Chris A. Wood. “Being located at the gateway of the Monongahela National Forest, it is appropriate that we begin a top-notch program in Natural Resource Management focusing upon our forests.”

The sustainable natural resources major will offer three areas of concentration: natural resources management, forest resources management and parks and recreation management. All three will focus on the sustainable use of natural resources such as watershed management, forestry and recreation.

D&E Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Crystal Krause said the sustainable natural resources program will appeal to students seeking a career as a conservationist, fish and wildlife biologist, forester or park ranger, among other fields. The forest technology major prepares students for a career as a forestry technician, procurement forester or utility forester.

In addition to classroom study, students will gain hands-on experience in the 300-acre experimental forest located east of Beverly, just a short drive from campus. The property will feature the George A. Myles Field Station, an outdoor pavilion.

“The experimental forest provides an incredible opportunity for our students to get real-world management practice on such a diverse property,” Krause said.

In addition, students may elect to minor in natural resources management, forest resource management or parks and recreation management.

“The sustainable natural resource major builds upon our existing academic strengths in environmental science and outdoor recreation management, provides clear career paths for students interested in these and related fields and is a natural fit for our location in central West Virginia,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rob Phillips. “We are grateful to June Myles for her gift and excited by the opportunities that it opens up for our present and future faculty, staff and students.” 

Davis & Elkins will continue to offer related majors in biology and environmental science, environmental science and sustainability studies.

For additional information, visit www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1230.

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