Earth & Environmental Sciences
Canoeing down a river. Hiking up a mountain. Mapping out the stars. To understand all aspects of the Earth, you have to explore the Earth.
With five major curricular areas spanning geology, astronomy, meteorology, environmental science and earth science education, the UNI Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences creates graduates ready to explore our world, get their hands dirty and work to create sustainable change on our planet.
Degrees are available in Environmental Science, Earth Science and Earth Science Teaching, and our students have the opportunity to conduct research on campus or on a research trip across the country.
Students traveled to northern New Mexico where they explored the volcanic landscape and discussed the numerous environmental issues facing cities like Albuquerque. The group visited with a geologist working to clean up the legacy contamination in Los Alamos, a tribal member working to protect his ancestral homelands, and a representative from Albuquerque’s water district who described the ways the city has reduced its water usage.
Glacier National Park
Over the span of three weeks, students explored 10 state and national parks, including Glacier National Park, where they hiked the famous 21-mile Highline Trail. Students learned about the impacts of climate change upon alpine glaciers, forest fires and human-landscape interactions. They also explored topics such as relative roles of wilderness, sustainability and industrial tourism within our national parks system.
Capstone in Italy
In previous years, the department has led a capstone class – Environment, Technology and Society – in Italy. The course was offered through the Study Abroad program and provided students the opportunity to learn about the history, culture and changing environment of the regions of Italy and Sicily. Students saw ancient historical sites, and explored the natural side of the regions, including their volcanoes.
Ever wonder how the constellations got their names, or how the Earth moves in relation to the sky? Our planetarium shows offer an unobstructed view of our night sky and the stars scattered across it. With faculty experts presenting at each show, groups can learn more about our place in the universe in a cozy indoor environment.
Take a peek at distant planets, observe astronomical phenomenons and learn more about the worlds outside our own through observatory shows presented by the department. Throughout the school year families, clubs and visitors can come to the roof of McCollum Science Hall for a fun and informative evening with faculty and students at our observatory telescope.
Latham Hall is home to the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Throughout the building are historical and interpretive displays featuring the work of faculty and students, and some impressive geological and historical samples — like our T-Rex skull and featured fossils – plus tools such as real time weather monitoring equipment and advanced microscopes.