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Thread: Requesting information on environmental planning as a career

  1. #1
    Oct 2004

    Requesting information on environmental planning as a career

    Hi all!

    What I great site, Iím very glad I found it. I hope that some of you would take the time to read my post and share your wisdom and experience with me, it would be greatly appreciated.

    A little bit about me; Iím 33 and in the process of changing careers. For about 8 years I was in property management, where I over saw apartment complexes from 200-400 units. Most of my job was managing a large and diverse staff, forecasting future growth, budgeting and conflict resolution between residents, and our office and the residents during the eviction process.

    Last year I graduated with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Political Science and Communication. In May I will graduate with a Master of Natural Resources Law Studies from the University of Denver College of Law. Essentially this is an advanced law degree (like the LLM) but a few none JD students are allowed to take the program each year. My concentration areas are Public Land law and Water Law. Some of the classes I have taken are Public Land Law and Policy, Natural Resource law and Policy, Water Resource Management Law, Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy. Next semester I will take Administrative Law, Land Transaction Law and Environmental law, with an elective left over. As you can imagine we have covered APA, NEPA, FLPMA, Clean Air and Water among others extensively.

    My original intent was to continue on to law school, and focus in Natural Resource law, but that has recently changed. The more I learn about the role of lawyers in this field, the less I want to be one. I really enjoy working on things at the evolution stage, of making a real difference, rather than nitpicking plans apart at the NEAP level just to delay them, rather than making a substantive change.

    The more I learn about the role federal, state and local land planners have in making the kinds of differences I would like to be evolved in, the more interesting the field becomes to me. I would really like a job where I get a hands on chance to work with natural resource issues that interest me, and the chance to work with all kinds of people on issues that actually effect them, not just the ones who can afford to litigate.

    To that end, I have been looking at applying to a Masters of Environmental Planning Program. The one that interest me most is in my home town, at Arizona State University.

    So, on to my questions about environmental planning. I have had some trouble finding a good site that explains the kinds of work someone can do in this field. My interest very, but I really like the idea of being able to work on land use plans for state and federal holdings, grazing, forests, mixed use, and to a great extent water resources, development, delivery and protection. Are these the kinds of things that environmental planners do? What other jobs and projects do environmental planners do?

    Once I graduate from the planning program, will my Master of Natural Resource Law be beneficial in my job search, or will it hinder me?

    What is the outlook for environmental planning jobs?

    Lastly, I donít plan to get rich off of any job I do (even in law, public interest was my end goal) but I do need to be able to service my mounting student debt once I have graduated. I figure if I can be close to 40k with in 2-3 years of entering the field, I should be able to pay off my loans in ten years. Is this possible in environmental planning?

    Any other advice, comments, suggestions would be great. Thanks for reading my post!

  2. #2
    Oct 2004
    london, uk

    denver llm


    Not sure how I stumbled across this thread but ive been trying to do some research on the university of denver llm programme in natural resources and the environment.I am an experienced attorney working in the UK as an energy lawyer. however ive got a US green card and am considering post grad study in the US.

    If its not too much trouble I'd be interested in your thoughts in the denver llm programme, namely: how difficult it is to get entry into ? what is the job market like for lawyers graduating with the LLM ? is it a very well regarded degree in the states compared with say lewis and clark, or tulane ? do you know any lawyers doing the LLM as opposed to the MNRLS ?


    Last edited by nerudite; 08 Oct 2004 at 7:18 PM. Reason: removed the huge text quote

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001
    I think that the outlook for environmental planning jobs is pretty good actually. The more we grow, the more of the environment we tend to impact (duh, right?) And I think that environmental regulation will only become more stringent, requiring more studies and mitigation, etc. What you do with a degree really depends upon you and how vigorously you try to find a good niche for yourself while studying via internship opportunities. Otherwise, when you get out you'll probably start by writing Environmental Impact Reports/Statements which is incredibly boring after writing the first one (sorry EIS writers).

    If you are interested in staying in the Southwest or Arizona, then by all means study in Arizona. But I would probably look for programs in areas that you want to end up in evenutally, so you can get an education that specializes in the issues that occur in that region. If you are interested in environmental planning and design, you may also want to check out University of Calgary's Master's program as well. I hear it is quite good.

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