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Dr. Mark Gathany looking at a small fish netted from Massie Creek

EPA Certification Now Part of Environmental Science Course

by Lauren McGuire, Student Public Relations Writer

Student with a strainer net in Massie CreekThis past spring semester, students in Dr. Mark Gathany’s Environment: Science, Sustainability and Stewardship course participated in a four-and-a-half-week certification course through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For the first time ever, the students in this course will receive an official Watershed Management Training Certificate. As a part of this certification, students are required to complete 15 modules covering watershed ecology, management practices, and water law, among other things. Gathany will pair students and have each group lead one module of the course for the rest of the class.

To be certified, students had to pass a quiz from the EPA. A “Certificate Ceremony” took place at their final exam this spring.

“I like giving my students the opportunity to have external certifications like this one from the EPA,” he said. “A lot of environmental science students have an interest in water or want to work in water eventually, so it’s foundational content to be exposed to, and it is a great thing to put on a resume as a first-year student.”

Gathany’s students also can complete a wastewater management internship with Greene County Sanitary Engineering. “This certification would give some great context for that experience,” he said. “I will be encouraging students to consider that as a next step.”

The idea for the certification program came from a colleague of Gathany’s, Bill Deutsch, at the Au Sable Institute, with whom Cedarville University is a sustaining partner. Au Sable Institute is an educational organization that provides field-based environmental science courses to students from participating Christian colleges.

For students who major in environmental science, about half end up working in government agencies, one-fourth in the private industry, and one-fourth in environmental education or zoos. They may serve as field biologists, wildlife biologists, rangers, and conservationists.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs including the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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