This paper describes a cooperative learning environment and a course continuum in wildlife ecology and management which promote the professional development of undergraduates. Students learn about functional relationships in ecology and management in lecture periods that focus on concepts, with participation by students in active learning exercises. Laboratory periods are designed around learning groups, which consist of freshmen through graduate students who focus on a common theme as they work together, while each student is responsible for his or her own research. Undergraduate teaching assistants and senior wildlife management students coordinate the activities of the learning groups and supervise the student research, learning about personnel management by active participation in leadership roles. Publication of research results on a wildlife ecology and management information system in the department's Cooperative Learning Center enables students to share what they learn with their peers and with students who follow in later years.