Plant and Earth Science

The Plant and Earth Science department, housed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, encompasses majors in Conservation and Environmental Planning, Crop and Soil Science, Environmental Science, Geology, and Horticulture. Students in Plant and Earth Science benefit from dedicated faculty, a hands-on learning environment, active student organizations and countless opportunities for research and internships.

Message from the Department Chair

Don TaylorGreetings, Prospective Students!

Welcome to a department where teaching is our top priority. From the moment you arrive on campus, our faculty take a personal interest in your educational progress. We strive to bring interactive and engaging experiences to the classroom and beyond.  

With six different majors and various minors, we provide unique interdisciplinary opportunities and collaborations across unusual boundaries. From Geology to Environmental Science, Conservation to Horticulture, and Community planning to Crop and Soil Science... we hope you will find the career path that is right for you. 

We welcome you to campus, and encourage you to meet with us and tour our facilities. Should you have questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.


Donavon Taylor
Chair, Department of Plant and Earth Science

View our Program Highlights

Here are just a few things our program offers:

  • Engaged, student-centered faculty - Five of our faculty members have received the Outstanding Teacher in the College Award and one that has received the University's Wertz Award for innovative teaching.
  • Opportunities for individualized research projects - Numerous students have presented research results at local, regional and national meetings.
  • Access to excellent facilities - Our facilities provide an environment for rich, hands-on learning experiences. We have two laboratory farms, greenhouse, specialized teaching and research labs, the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River and bordering wetlands and natural areas flowing through campus. 
  • Active student organizations - At least seven student clubs are associated with majors in our department with numerous other related clubs of interest.
  • Extensive internship opportunities - A well-established internship program allows student to choose from a variety of available internships related to their major.
  • A field-oriented teaching philosophy - Laboratories and field experiences are central to the education of students in all of our majors.

Click on each major below to learn more about the program. Full degree requirements can be found in the University Catalog.

Majors Minors

Conservation and Environmental Planning

  • Conservation Option
  • Environmental Planning Option


Environmental Planning

Crop and Soil Science

  • Crop Science Option
  • Soil Science Option
  • Sustainable Agriculture Option

Crop Science

Soil Science

Environmental Science

Sustainability Studies


  • Environmental/ Engineering Emphasis
  • Environmental/ Hydrogeology Emphasis
  • Graduate School Emphasis
  • Mineral Exploration Emphasis
  • Ocean Sciences Emphasis
  • Paleontology Emphasis
  • Petroleum Geology Emphasis




  • Professional Horticulture Option
  • Landscape Design & Contracting Option
  • Fruit & Vegetable Sustainable Systems Option


News & Events

The UWRF Horticulture Society invites you to attend the seminar "Floristry: A career at the intersection of art and nature" presented by the international celebrated Ardith Beveridge, Wednesday, November 11 from 5:00-6:00 p.m., Ag Science 200.  For more information

Congratulations to the following Horticulture students who have been awarded scholarships this past week: Nathanael Holmes and Marissa Nechuta have been awarded the Kettle Moraine Garden Club Scholarship; Marissa Nechuta has also been awarded with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) Foundation scholarship co-sponsored by Bachman's, Inc.; Andrew Sherwood has been awarded the MNLA scholarship co-sponsored by Bailey Nurseries, Inc.; and Avery Marcott has been awarded the MNLA scholarship co-sponsored by the Robin D. Linder Memorial. Well done everyone!

Congratulations to UWRF Horticulture Team that placed 3rd overall at the Mid-America Collegiate Horticulture Society (MACHS) conference held at Iowa State University from October 8-11, 2015.  The team included: Amanda Deml, Katie Eggert, Mitchell Haase, and Nicholas Peter. Read more

Horticulture Professor David Zlesak's interview by KARE 11 multimedia photojournalist Ben Garvin, was aired on the KARE 11 News show on Saturday, October 3, 2015, watch "Enjoying the beauty of autumn" here

Contact Us

Plant and Earth Science
324 Agricultural Science
611 S. 3rd St.
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