Virginia Tech's Conservation Management Institute has been awarded $400,000 for the first year of a multi-year support contract to lead the Mid-Atlantic Information Node of the National Biological Information Infrastructure.

The U.S. Geological Survey awarded this contract to make biological resource information more accessible to natural resource managers and the public in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The Conservation Management Institute is a research center within the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech specializing in the collection, management, application, and distribution of natural resource information.

"Making natural resource information available supports stewardship, economic development, and the efficiency of state and federal agencies, counties, and companies that need to plan and manage the potential environmental impacts of their work," said Jeff Waldon, assistant director of CMI. The Conservation Management Institute will first address spatial data compilation, web accessibility, land conservation prioritization, education and outreach, and strategic planning for the new node.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.