Chair's Welcome

Welcome from the Chair

ES Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the ES web site and thank you for exploring our department. We are a vibrant program with inspiring faculty, lecturers, students and staff. We’ve been around for 45 years -- qualifying us as one of the oldest Environmental Studies programs in the nation. We are also one of the largest in terms of the cumulative numbers of student graduates over time. Indeed we are reaching towards our 6000 graduate! Check out some details of our history on the home page.

We strive to train environmental leaders of the future and to inspire our students to believe they have the skills and power to change the trajectory of our planet whether at the local or global scale. Our graduates hold jobs that range from tackling local issues like more sustainable and environmentally smart city and county planning, to international issues like climate change. Locally our graduates make a difference by doing things like bringing a green-sheen to business, participating in environmental planning, helping to improve efficiency and sustainability in waste management, recycling and food production, or dedicating themselves to environmental education.  We also have graduates who work for statewide agencies, Universities, national NGOs and the federal government.  Our program’s goal is to give you the skills with which to understand the complex environmental problems societies face, and to participate in generating solutions to these problems.  You will gain these skills through classes with topnotch and skilled faculty instructors as well as classes from environmental professionals. For example our Waste Management course is taught by one of Santa Barbara County’s waste management professionals (also a graduate of our program!) and our environmental law sequence is taught by an accomplished local attorney who specializes in land use and coastal environmental law.   

In addition to stimulating classroom experiences, we try to ensure that our students get out of the actual classroom and into the field. We encourage involvement in Wildland Studies courses or the Education Abroad Program, plus we offer a variety of field based courses within our own curriculum. Some of these get students out into wildland settings to see how our natural resources are managed and to view first hand the challenges of managing wild places in a rapidly changing world.  Other courses with a field element to them expose students to ecological restoration (and restoration internships), water distribution & politics, energy generation, coastal processes and their management, and agricultural and its intricate ties to an array of environmental problems.  Our amazing undergrad advisor helps to place students into internships in a wide range of areas including law, planning, resources management, ocean pollution, environmental education, ecological restoration and more.  We also encourage student involvement in research. This is usually done through collaboration with faculty or graduate students and we have some small grants available to help facilitate this.  

We hope this website will help you become familiar with our program and if you have any questions that you can’t find the answer to, shoot us an email. 

Dr. Carla D'Antonio, Chair
Environmental Studies Program

PS: To learn more about how you can help support the ES Program, please visit our Giving to ES webpage.