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.

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  • 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...
  • “I know that what I bring into my consciousness changes who I am. So every day I bring in solutions news.” —Frances Moore Lappé, shown here in Ostrove Auditorium Oct. 1. Photo by Mika Mintz '14 Environmental Fellow Frances Moore Lappé Focuses on Solutions - Someone who has spent her life studying the world’s food resources might be the last person you’d expect to be an optimist. But bestselling author Frances Moore Lappé, Colby’s 2013 Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Studies, is just that. There is plenty of food in the world, she says. The problem is how...

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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.