• WEB Restoration institute chainsaw
  • Herbicide application
  • Wildland Firefighter Training summer 2020
  • Wetland delineation Ecological Restoration Institute

Plant and Earth Science

Ecological Restoration Institute

The Plant and Earth Science Department is excited to present the Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI). The Institute seeks to develop student skills in natural resources on restoration projects around campus. Students will gain field experience that can be applied to their careers as well as certifications that will be useful for job placement. Learn more about our current projects of interest and certifications on this page. Contact Program Manager Kelsey Cowart to see how you can be involved with this innovative embarkment for students and the campus community.


  • South Fork of Kinnickinnic River: The open field behind the Agricultural Science Building and the Greenhouse offers great potential to restore native plants and offer experience in management practices such as herbicide application, prescribed burning, invasive species removal, and water table monitoring. We will work over the spring and summer to control invasive species in preparation for native seed dispersal next spring 2022.
  • School Forest Restoration: The UWRF campus has two registered School Forests with the state of Wisconsin, providing a space for recreation and education. School Forest 1 is located near the horse farm and the School Forest 2 resides on the Mann Valley Farm. Both sites are undergoing invasive species removal to open up the canopy for native tree plantings from Spring 2021. School Forest 1 will be restored to a white pine forest and an oak savanna where School Forest 2 will largely remain an oak woodland forest. A trail network is being installed for the first time in the School Forest 2 to open up recreation opportunitites for the entire campus and River Falls community.


A limited number of certification assistance is offered each semester, please reach out to Kelsey Cowart for availability.

  • Commercial Pesticide Applicator License: 2 certification types, Right-of-Way and Natural Areas and Aquatic & Mosquito applications.
  • CPR/First Aid Training: offered through Campus Recreation
  • Wildland Firefighter Training: offered in Spring Semester
  • Boat Safety: offered through the Wisconsin DNR, enrolling under ESM 289 Section 2, limited to 10 students per semester 
  • ATV/Off Road Education: offered through the Wisconsin DNR, enrolling under ESM 289 Section 1, limited to 10 students per semester
  • Chainsaw Safety Course: Levels 1 and 2 offered with ESM 191 in Fall Semester and Levels 3 and 4 in Spring Semester.
  • Tractor Training: offered in coordination with Mann Valley Farm, introductory training with hands-on experience with small tractors, zero-turn lawn mower and skid steers.

Inquiry Form

Interested in a Project or Certification? Fill out this form and Program Manager Kelsey Cowart will be in contact with you soon.


Ecological Restoration Institute wordmark

For more information, contact:
Kelsey Cowart
Ecological Restoration Institute Program Manager

Stay connected with us on Instagram!


Contact Us

Plant and Earth Science
324 Agricultural Science
611 S. 3rd St.
Facebook IconInstaGram Icon Twitter Icon Linked In Icon