The ESIL certificate is motivated by the history of environmental incidents and degradation that have impacted Indigenous lands across the United States. Prevention and management of environmental incidents depends, in part, on scientifically aware, culturally-sensitive individuals who can serve as environmental liaisons between tribal and non-tribal organizations. A network of tribal and non-tribal agencies and CU Denver have come together to provide ESIL students with the most current, professionally relevant training to meet the employment needs in this critical area of environmental stewardship.
The length of time required to complete the ESIL certificate will vary depending on a student's academic background; however, for students completing the certificate only, the ESIL certificate is expected to take one year (full time status) to complete. For students concurrently enrolled in a STEM degree (especially biology, civil engineering, and geography and environmental sciences), the certificate can be completed concurrent with the degree.
At CU Denver, students interested in the environmental sciences typically major in biology, civil engineering or geography, with an emphasis in environmental stewardship. CU Denver also has many graduate opportunities in the environmental stewardship offered through the Department of Integrative Biology, the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences.
Located in the heart of downtown Denver, CU Denver offers opportunities to intern and work locally and nationally with several tribal and non-tribal environmental organizations, including tribal agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the State of Colorado.
In addition to the community of Indigenous students, faculty and staff at CU Denver, metropolitan Denver has a vibrant Indigenous community with organizations such as the Denver Indian Center, the Denver American Indian Commission, the Denver Indian Family Resource Center, the Four Winds American Indian Council, and the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE). Denver is also home to numerous tribal events, powwows, and cultural gatherings.