Environmental Studies is the interdisciplinary field that incorporates social sciences, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and geology in order to examine the interactions between human beings and the natural world.
Environmental studies allows scientists and laypersons to understand the complex interaction between various organisms while also equipping policy-makers with important data to make critical decisions. Environmental Studies is important to a broad array of disciplines, from architecture to law to public health. Recent estimates show a growing demand in governmental, commercial, and industrial employment for professionals whose qualifications include environmental analytical skills.
All Environmental Studies and Resources (ESR) courses utilize the 110 acre Rock Creek Environmental Studies Center (RCESC) as part of lab classes. The RCESC is comprised of a 17 acre upland forest dominated by Douglas fir, a 30 acre upland forest of Douglas fir and mixed deciduous trees, two bottomland forests, a large emergent wetland, many scattered acres of wet meadows and grasslands as well as access to two streams, and a pond system. Though the RCESC is owned and managed by PCC-Rock Creek, the area is utilized by educational institutions throughout the Portland Metropolitan area.
There is an active environmental restoration program at the RCESC funded through grants from the USFWS, Tualatin Valley Foundation and others. This program is keyed to restoring wetland, riparian and forest systems at the RCESC. Classes in Environmental Studies and Resources (ESR) and biology are involved with planning and restoration.
PCC offers students the opportunity to earn the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree to complete courses in preparation for a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies or environmental science (if transferred to a four-year program at a college or university).
Environmental Science emphasizes a strong scientific background for those wishing to work on solving technical problems relative to the environment.
The Environmental Studies major emphasizes a program that integrates social issues to natural science issues with an emphasis on the human dimension of resource management.
Since most students transfer to PSU, the PCC ESR program closely parallels the program at PSU and was designed in cooperation with the staff and faculty at PSU. However students leaving the program have transferred to programs throughout Oregon and the United States with success.
Biology and Environmental Science Student Association
The Biology and Environmental Studies Student Association (BESSA) is comprised of students with interests in biology, environmental studies, pre-medical professional programs, as well as forestry, and fish and wildlife programs. The BESSA members organize group field trips, outside speakers, and hold regular meetings to discuss professional issues.