Student looking at the forest canopy

Natural Resources

Overview

About This Program

Knowing you want to work hands-on in an outdoor setting helps direct your educational track from the start. The natural resource programs give you a wide variety of field skills that will allow you to be successful in a wide range of technician careers. Graduates will successfully perform as natural resource technicians using a science-based approach, with an understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues within the natural resources field. Depending on the degree program and campus location a natural resource student can pursue related degrees or certificates in several areas including Fisheries and Wildlife Management, Land Surveying, Geographic Information Systems, Wildlife Ecology, and Wildland Firefighting.

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At-a-Glance

Degrees & Credits

A.A.S. Degree (64 credits)

A.A.S. Degree (67 credits)

Campus
Itasca
Vermilion

Program Features

SAF accredited program

The natural resource programs at each campus are independently accredited by SAF.

Thorough career prep
  • Faculty members with natural resource degrees and field experience
  • Excellent program reputation with natural resource technician employers
  • National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) Certified fire training courses
  • Career planning and placement assistance
  • SAF Accreditations
  • Both locations are independently SAF accredited
Student experience
  • Emphasis on field trips and field experiences
  • Summer work experience incorporated into the program
  • Cooperative field projects
  • Natural Resource, Forestry, and Wildlife Club, SAF Student chapter(s) and add Itasca with a 325-acre on campus forest.
  • 560-acre Vermilion forest near campus
North American Wildlife Technology Association accreditation

A combination of the Wildlife Ecology certificate with either the Fisheries and Wildlife Management AS or Natural Resource Technology- Forestry Wildlife Degree are accredited by the North American Wildlife Technology Association (NAWTA).

Student using a compass outdoors
Career Opportunities

A Variety of Careers

Minnesota North's degrees and certificates offer a wide range of skills means students are also prepared for a wide range of careers. The majority of these careers exist at the technician level in both full time and seasonal positions. Recent graduates have found careers as a Forestry Technician, Wildlife Technician, Natural Resource Technician, Hydrological Technician, Conservation Technician, Biological Technician, Range Technician, Wildland Firefighter, Surveying Aid, Urban Forestry Tree Inspector, Forestry Inventory Specialist, and Forestry Contractor/Forestry Consultant.

Faculty

Tim Aunan

Natural Resources Instructor

Itasca Campus

Tim Fox

Geography/Geographic Information Systems Instructor

Itasca Campus

Joline Leone

Natural Resources College Lab Assistant

Itasca Campus

Lee Kessler

Wildland Firefighting Instructor

Itasca Campus

Meadow Kouffeld

Natural Resources Instructor

Itasca Campus

Ryan Miller

Natural Resources Instructor

Vermilion Campus

Craig Tikkanen

Natural Resources Instructor

Vermilion Campus

Rita Koch

Natural Resources Instructor

Vermilion Campus

Meet Our Alumni

Ashly Fairchild

Natural Resource Technology

Minnesota North - Vermilion

Education and experience
I am currently studying Geology and GIS at Minnesota State University Mankato. I was a crew leader for Conservation Corps Minnesota/Iowa for a summer season and worked for the Superior National Forest (US Forest Service) as a Forestry Technician in fire prevention.

Current employer
US Forest Service, Nez-Perce-Clearwater National Forest

Position
I am a seasonal Biological Science Technician on the aquatics crew. I worked with specialists from hydrology, fisheries, and soils in projects measuring various stream attribute to determine sensitive areas due to erosion and/or declining aquatic habitats.

Favorite Vermilion memory
Really enjoyed having the outdoors as a classroom.

Garet Bodahl

Natural Resource Technology

Minnesota North - Vermilion

Education and experience
I’ve received a lot of on the job training and fire-related courses offered through the USFS. I had 3 years working with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota prior to attending VCC. I have also had 4 seasons on a helitack crew with the US Forest Service in Idaho.

Position
I am a wildland firefighter and heavy equipment operator, chainsaw operator, hazard tree Faller. I’ve mostly been operating a skid steer with a masticator unit to remove gamble oak and create a fuel break on US military academy property. As well as felling hazard trees in an urban environment that pose a threat to property and public safety.

Favorite Vermilion memory
Operating as the crew leader on the small mammal survey for the MN DNR while camping out in the canvas wall tent for the forestry and wildlife club.

Additional Information

Transferability

The Natural Resource Technology program focuses on the skills you need to be immediately employable. For students interested in a bachelors degree, transfer agreements are in place with:

  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
  • Michigan Technological University
  • University of Minnesota – Crookston
  • University of Minnesota – St Paul

 

SAF Accreditation

By earning a degree from an SAF-accredited program you:• Verify the quality of education you’ve received meets the standards of the profession.• Ease entry to the profession through licensure, registration, and certification.• Increase and enhance employment opportunities.For more information on SAF Accreditation click on this link

Focus Areas

Natural Resource Technology Forestry Wildlife-AAS
Forestry
Wildlife Ecology certificate
Geospatial
Law Enforcement