academicsThe mission of the Environmental Studies Program is to provide our students with an interdisciplinary, liberal arts education. We strive to present students with a positive learning environment that encourages creative, responsible, interdisciplinary independent thinking through lecture, seminar, laboratory, and fieldwork – locally or abroad.

Latest News

Check out our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram account, and our YouTube channel.
  • Colby Climbs in Greenest College Ratings - This summer Best and the Sierra Club released their “Greenest Colleges” and “Cool Schools” rankings, respectively. According to Best Colby ranks third overall and first among NESCAC institutions. Sierra Club ranked Colby 19th among all institutions in their list. This marks the first time Colby has cracked the top 20 of the Sierra Club...
  • Solar Panels on SSWAC Now Generating kWhs - Commencement activities always bring a jolt of energy to campus, but this year there’s an actual new source of electricity. This month Colby installed its first solar photovoltaic installation on the roof of the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, the first of Colby’s 12 LEED-certified buildings now on campus. Installed by Maine Solar Engineering, the panels have a generating capacity of 25.76 kW and...
  • Four Seniors Will Attend Aquatic Science Conference - Four seniors—Becky Forgrave, Theresa Petzoldt, Emily Arsenault, and Grace Reville—will miss senior week to attend the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting (JASM) May 18-23 in Portland, Ore. Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Denise Bruesewitz is also attending and will talk about Colby’s research buoy in Great Pond, Goldie, and about her work in NYC on nitrogen cycling in estuaries...

All Environmental Studies News >

Academic Facilities


The Environmental Studies Program is centered in the Diamond Building, which includes a state-of-the-art GIS lab, an ES seminar room, research offices for ES students, and offices for ES faculty and the ES programs coordinator. The Keyes Building and Olin Science Center include teaching and research labs, greenhouses, and data-analysis facilities. Environmental programs are supported by the Olin Science Library.

Student-Faculty Research

Environmental studies majors collaborate on research with faculty members, working in locations ranging from the on-campus arboretum to South America and Africa. Others students have used their skills to develop geographic information system (GIS) maps and models to support faculty research. Problems in Environmental Science, a capstone course for ES majors, assigns students as a consulting team to do original research on water quality in central Maine lakes. Students in the Environmental Policy Practicum develop a report for The State of Maine: An Environmental Assessment.

Ocean Science and Marine Conservation

A partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and a gift to start a marine conservation track in Environmental Studies in 2011-12 allowed Colby to expand significantly its study of the oceans. The Colby-Bigelow partnership increases teaching and research collaboration between Colby (students and faculty) and Bigelow’s senior research scientists.

Belgrade Lakes Watershed Sustainability ProjectIMG_1527

A consortium of faculty members and student researchers each year is working to understand the impact of landscape and lake-ecosystem changes in the Belgrade Lakes region. The region provides a unique laboratory to understand the complex dynamics of environmental, biogeochemical, and socioeconomic systems.



Colby’s campus is within an hour of the Appalachian Trail and an hour from the Atlantic Ocean. Civic engagement and service learning programs ensure opportunities for students to engage environmental initiatives in the community and the state. Colby’s 714-acre campus, which is a State Wildlife Management Area, is an ideal living laboratory for studying the environment and practicing sustainability.