Outdoor Conservation

A student using calipers to collect measurement of a small turtle Student outside using a telemetry instrument

Mount Mercy’s Outdoor Conservation major provides coursework for students who wish to pursue careers in parks, natural resources, conservation-based organizations, and other outdoor careers. Students can either enter the program as a freshman or transfer into the College from the Parks and Natural Resources program at Kirkwood Community College. 

The core courses build on fundamental principles in biology, evolution of organisms, ecology, and statistics. Electives offer choices of study between animal behavior, Iowa natural history, and environmental issues. Students may also elect to take a summer course at a field station. Many of the courses include sampling procedures using equipment like backpack shockers for fish collection and analysis of environmental chemicals with modern equipment. Analysis of data and scientific communication are part of many of these courses. 

A student collects research on local environment with the use of a scope A student outside using a instrument to scan a leaf
Local plant life called Puccoon blooming small bright yellow flowers Students using nets and other conservation methods to collect data on fish in a stream

The course of study allows for elective courses outside of the major, and students can take courses or possibly earn minors in criminal justice, political science, or economics, to name a few. Participation in the GREEN Club, the Biology Club, and the Outdoor Club are also possible activities.

Hear What Our Graduates Say

"Going to Mount Mercy was the best decision I have made to date. It shaped my life and provided me with opportunities for success. The outdoor conservation professors encouraged me to think for myself and form my own ideas, which helped guide me to my career in environmental stewardship." – Bryce Stalcup '09, Environmental Technician, Waste Commission of Scott County 

"The outdoor conservation program produces students that are well-versed on a number of different subjects and are great critical thinkers. I attribute my current position almost entirely to the diverse degree that I obtained while studying at Mount Mercy."
– Chris Lutz '09, Playground Coordinator, ChildCareGroup, Dallas, Texas