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

Best wishes and congratulations to Horticulture Professor Terry Ferriss who retired this spring. Read more

Geology Professor Ian Williams was named UWRF's 2015 Adviser of the Year! Read more

Professor in Plant and Earth Science, Eric Sanden, received the CAFES Outstanding Teacher Award. Congratulations! Read more

Congratulations to Jameson Coopman who was named the UWRF Outstanding Senior in Horticulture. He was also recognized by the American Society of Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) as an Outstanding Undergraduate in Horticulture. Read more

The Soils Team placed 1st overall at the NACTA competition for the second year in a row. The Crops Team also competed and placed 4th.

13 students attended the SASES Regional Meeting in Madison. UWRF student Nikki Stehr and alum Nathan Hankes placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 2014 Metcalfe Manuscript Contest for SASES members.

The living green wall has been installed in AgSci 331. You can see photos of the process on this CAFES Facebook post.

Congratulations to Jarod Blades, assistant professor of conservation, and Jill Coleman-Wasik, assistant professor of environmental science, who were recently awarded a UW System Undergraduate Research and Discovery Grant of $30,000 to form the Kinni Watershed Consortium (KWC) in order to better facilitate and disseminate research projects involving the nearby Kinnickinnic River. Read more

Contact Us

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