We take a multidisciplinary approach to tackle the biggest challenges of our time.

Unique among peer institutions in the United States, the breadth of disciplinary expertise in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment – from ethics and social sciences to conservation genetics and applied ecology – creates a stimulating multidisciplinary atmosphere for our students, staff, faculty and visiting scholars. We have strong collaborative ties across Cornell University, other universities, governmental agencies, and leading environmental and conservation organizations.

Consistently ranked among the top college environmental programs in the nation, we contribute creative and impactful science and education to address many of the urgent environmental issues of the 21st century. We provide essential information to communities, conservation and environmental professionals, policymakers, educators and researchers worldwide.

Department facts

Founded in 1911

The department was founded by Liberty Hyde Bailey in 1911 as the Department of Forestry.

Fernow Hall

Originally built in 1915, the department’s home, Fernow Hall, underwent a major renovation in 2014 and is now LEED Gold certified.

Department firsts

Early faculty members wrote foundational textbooks that shaped the field of natural resources as we know it.


A school of fish underwater


Janelle Morano is tracking the movements of fish in response to sudden changes in marine ecosystems.
  • Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Environment
  • Climate
Students in a classroom.


During the two weeks of the COP26 (Conference of the Parties) international climate change conference’s talks and negotiations, 45 undergraduate and graduate Cornell students plugged in from Ithaca through select channels, listened and held digital front row seats to environmental history.
  • Cornell Atkinson
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Natural Resources and the Environment