Need info about Natural Resources related majors

<p>I am currently attending University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point as a fisheries/biology double major (or at least that is the intention). I honestly don't know much about fisheries and am not too terribly interested in fish, although somewhat. I think the main reason I picked this major is because the counselor made it sound appealing, especially the fact that double majoring in biology only requires a couple more credits and is not much harder than fisheries alone. According to the counselor, it is the most difficult major in the college of natural resources.</p>

<p>I have also been considering Natural Resource Policy Management, Forestry, and Wilderness Recreation (although I don't like the thought of these as much, except maybe policy). I would honestly rather major in Biology or Chemistry but I have heard bad things about both majors, especially since I don't want to go to med school. I intend to get a masters/phd if it seems necessary at the time.</p>

<p>Anyways, I have a few questions.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>What are the job prospects of someone going into fisheries and biology (at any education level)?</p></li>
<li><p>What would someone with such a degree actually do on a day to day basis? This is the kind of thing I really should bother to figure out before deciding a major...</p></li>
<li><p>What are the job prospects of resource policy majors and what would someone employed in that field do on an average day?</p></li>
<li><p>Can anyone convince me that biology, chemistry, or really any science field is worth it? I've heard that the job market, pay, job security (except for tenured professors) and basically everything else is miserable for these majors, and just as bad with a masters or phd.</p></li>
<li><p>Am I going to the right school? Obviously uwsp seems to think that it has a good natural resources program, but it is rarely mentioned in discussions of the top natural resource schools (actually it is rarely mentioned at all in my experience).</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer any of these questions.</p>

<p>I'm a bit tardy to the party, but is there a particular career that you have in mind?</p>

<p>I'm working on an MS in outdoor recreation/resource management at Indiana University, and am in a student-to-career program with the USDA Forest Service as an interpretive park ranger.</p>

<p>Job paths for the natural resources field often involve state or federal government agencies - these bureaus have mandates to manage their land in a scientific framework. For example, the Juneau Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest, where I work, employs fisheries biologists, wildlife biologists, archaeologists, botanists, geologists and a variety of other "ologists." The work that they do informs land managers as to the ecological health and resource productivity of the landscape, allowing for informed decisionmaking on responsible uses of the land.</p>

<p>Their day-to-day work is generally a split of office and field duties. For example, a fisheries biologist on the Tongass might spend a day installing a fish weir to count the number of salmon returning upstream, and the next day writing a report for the district ranger as to the health of the watershed.</p>

<p>Entry level for these positions ranges from GS-5 to GS-7, and the basic "career-level" jobs are GS-9. You won't go broke, you won't get rich. There are various advancement opportunities up the ladder (GS-11/12/13/14), but the general rule is that the farther up you go, the more paper-shuffling and less field-working you're doing.</p>

<p>If you'd like, I can put you in contact with the JRD fisheries biologist, who could tell you more about his job. </p>

<p>Yes, UWSP is a fairly well-known school in the natural resources landscape - a former Forest Service chief (Mike Dombeck) is a professor there, and UWSP is one of the other schools I applied to when looking for my graduate program.</p>

<p>I would recommend that you seek to pursue your graduate studies at a different university - it's considered good practice to expose yourself to different programs with different faculty.</p>