Courses

Advanced Principles & Concepts of Ecological Restoration

An advanced investigation into the meaning, limits, and significance of ecological restoration.

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Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

This course gives students an understanding of biodiversity and conservation biology as scientific disciplines whose aims are to reduce impacts of human activities on biological diversity.

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Birding Basics I: Songbirds

Songbirds is a series of four two-hour lectures and three field trips, ideal for those interested in discovering the pleasures of birdwatching.

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Birding Basics I: Songbirds (at Mary Winspear Centre)

In this series of four lectures and three field trips, you will learn the skills required to help you identify birds and avoid frustration and confusion.

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Birding Basics II: Waterbirds

Lectures will include slide and video presentations, and field trips will visit local birding hotspots.

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Birding Basics II: Waterbirds (at Mary Winspear Centre)

In this series of four lectures and three field trips, you will learn the skills necessary to find and identify local waterbirds, including geese, swans, ducks, gulls and terns.

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Botanical Watercolour Illustration

Long before cameras were invented explorers used illustrations to log the flora and fauna they discovered. Jeff de Jong will guide a class to paint their own illustration. If you want to explore your inner artist then this class is a great place to start!

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Carbon Pricing

This session is devoted to a centrally important climate reduction strategy, carbon pricing. It will compare the British Columbia carbon tax with the federal and other carbon pricing schemes.

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Carbon Reduction Programs and Policies

We will look at other greenhouse gas reduction policies, such as low carbon fuel standards, vehicle carbon emission standards or subsidy programs for building upgrades and clean emission vehicle purchases.

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Climate Plans

This session will examine federal and selected provincial climate plans, looking at plan components such as greenhouse gas targets, baselines, actions and carbon accounting.

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Community Fishers Training Program

Community Fishers is an advanced solution using state‐of‐the‐art technology that provides a practical, user‐friendly tool for collecting data from mobile scientific instruments which can then be managed and freely accessed via ONC’s world‐leading oceanographic data management system, Oceans 2.0.

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Cool Weather Hot Containers

This online class will focus on design and plant choices for a high impact and low care beautiful container. It will be a class filled with exceptional ideas for you to use.

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Design Principles for Natural Processes

Ecological restoration is a rapidly changing subject. Practitioners and professionals faced with restoration of degraded ecosystems are seeking ways to restore these systems in the face of climate change and continued urban expansion.

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Don’t Trifle with Truffles: Fungal Economies and Ecosystems at the Root of BC Trees

Truffles and related fungi play important roles in the life cycles of the plants that are their hosts. Instructor: Shannon Berch, PhD, is a research scientist with the BC Ministry of Environment. Shannon is a Pacific Northwest authority on truffles and other hypogeous fungi.

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Down the Rabbit Hole - Quantum Physics for Nonphysicists

The goal of this course is to help people without a science background to engage with the concepts of quantum physics.

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Ecosystem Design through Propagation of Native Plants

This is an advanced course on ecosystem design that considers the ecology and reproductive biology of plants when restoring ecosystems. We’ll also explore the implications for green or living roofs and the impact of climate change.

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Ecorestoration Strategies: Case Studies

The course will examine a selection of ecological restoration projects that will present a range of specific sites. An international selection of case studies will be selected from British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and South America.

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Ecosystems of British Columbia, Canada, and the World

This course is a survey of world ecosystems, with special reference to British Columbia and Canada. Each ecosystem is discussed with respect to their distribution, composition, structure and function.

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Environmental Restoration Project

This course involves a planning and participating in a real restoration project. The project is usually done in partnership with a community group, government department or industry partner. If you are working in a related field, the project can be based on activities for your job with prior approval from the Academic Administrator.

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Ethical, Legal, and Policy Aspects of Environment Restoration

Environmental restoration is a value-laden activity. It takes place within a societal framework of ethics, laws and politics. Ethics influence which actions are considered appropriate by society, while laws determine what is legally required or permissible and policies govern how things are done.

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Evolution, Biology and Ecology of Marine Mammals

This course will cover the “who’s who” of marine mammals: who they are, where they came from, how they live and how to identify them.

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Explorations in Ecotourism: Coastal Treasures

More than just a travelogue, this course will introduce you to the concept of ecotourism as well as some of the management challenges confronting special places such as parks, heritage sites and fragile landscapes.

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Extinction Events on Earth (at Mary Winspear Centre)

Global mass extinction events have occurred at least five times in the geological past and are the result of often-complicated and interconnected causes. In this course we will focus on how these mass extinction events severely knocked life back and thereby altered the trajectory of biological evolution.  

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Field Study in Ecological Restoration I

This course is meant to introduce you to a range of basic techniques for field study. You will learn some basic methodologies commonly used in the field of ecological restoration.

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Field Study in Ecological Restoration II

This is an advanced field study course involving ecosystem mapping and detailed site evaluation (prescription). The first two mornings will be spent in the classroom, but the course will largely be taught in the field at sites on Royal Roads/DND lands.

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Field Trip - Strange Partnerships of Fungi and Plants

Join some of the instructors on a field trip to view mycorrhizal mushrooms and some of their plant symbionts.

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Forest Restoration and Sustainable Forestry

International organizations, governments and citizen organizations are concerned about the state of global forests, particularly their loss and degradation. The importance of forests in the global carbon cycle—and in mitigating and adapting to climate change—is now widely recognized.

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Fungal and Plant Ecosystems: System Thinking and the Balance in BC Forests

How will the study of mycorrhizal fungi change the way we view and work with BC forests?

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Fungi and Forest Ecology

This lecture and walk will explore how fungi, most of which are largely invisible to the casual observer, play significant roles as decomposers, parasites, and beneficial symbionts.

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Galiano Island Field Study

Compressed format field study focused on regenerative and restorative designs for ecological and social resilience. Skills and concepts will be honed through real world community engagement. Semi-distance format requiring attendance on Galiano Island for nine days.

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Garden Design for Beginners

If you have a desire to get your ideas onto paper then this is the class for you!

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Gardens in History: History, Art, and Design of Kitchen Gardens

In this course, we will explore the history of kitchen gardens from their early beginnings to the resurgence in contemporary garden trends. We will examine the basic designs, including symmetrical geometrical beds, irrigation features that incorporate central pools, wells, fountains and water-channels.

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Gardens in History: Victorian and Edwardian Gardens

If gardens could speak, what stories would they tell? Gardens involve plants, design, exploration, innovation, wealth, politics and empire.

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Green Shores™ Training Program: Level 1 Workshop

Protecting shorelines in the face of climate change and sea level rise has largely focused on building seawalls and dikes.

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Green Shores™ Training Program: Level 2 Workshop

Protecting shorelines in the face of climate change and sea level rise has largely focused on building seawalls and dikes. The Green Shores program offers viable alternatives to shoreline protection.

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How Fungi Attack Our Food Plants

A fairly large number of fungi attack various parts of our food plants and threaten harvests. We are trying to breed resistant crop varieties, and to develop new fungicides that protect our domesticated plants

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Introduction to Biology and Natural History

This online self-study course is for people looking to gain foundational, scientifically sound, knowledge in biology and natural history. It is organized into eleven study units outlining the general principles by which plants and animals interact with each other and their surroundings.

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Introduction to Chemistry

This online tutorial course is designed to provide background for those who intend to enrol in a university-level introductory general chemistry course.

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Powerful Earthquakes and Tsunamis and How to Tackle Them

Even though the west coast of North America is a beautiful, pristine, quiet, and relaxing environment, it has also been subject to powerful earthquakes triggering devastating tsunamis. This lecture will provide some answers, through the history of research and modern understanding of our tectonic settings, and the latest recommendations to survive the next big one.

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Invasive Species and Novel Ecosystems

In this course we’ll examine the biology of invasive species, focusing on the life-history adaptations and dispersal strategies that contribute to their success at both the individual and population levels.

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Journey to the Red Planet

NASA has now stated that we are closer to landing a human on Mars than ever before. This talk will look at the technical, human and ethical challenges required to achieve such a mission.

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Leadership Skills for Ecological Restoration

This course will provide you with skills and tools for effective leadership in ecological restoration. The course focuses on: identification of personal leadership style, understanding of leadership roles in ecological restoration processes, group facilitation techniques, as well as strategies for effective outreach, communications, giving and receiving feedback, and dispute resolution.

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Marine Birds

This series of lectures, illustrated with slides and dramatic video presentations, is ideal for birders and naturalists interested in learning more about local marine birds and bird behaviour.

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Mathematical Skills

This non-credit preparatory course provides a review of the fundamental concepts and problem-solving skills taught prior to Grade 12.

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Medieval to Renaissance: The Evolution of Botanical Illustration

This course surveys the astonishing historical range and visual diversity of the art of depicting flowers and other plants in paintings, prints and drawings.

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Mining Reclamation

This course examines mine reclamation and considers the impacts of mines—and mining practices—on natural systems and landscapes. Through lectures and on-site visits, we’ll discuss a variety of topics.

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Nature Explorations at Yellow Point Lodge

In spring, the world is alive—the meadow of sea blush and camas; mink, otter, hummingbirds, eagles and blue herons are pursuing their springtime agendas; forests are fresh and green; sea is alive with birds and sea life. Join us for leisurely days of learning, explorations and delicious meals at Yellow Point Lodge. Presenters may include biologists Marc Bell, David Denning, Darren and Claudia Copley, and pianist Bruce Vogt.

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Non-Timber Forest Management and Sustainable Use by Major Forest Zones in B.C.

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are an often-overlooked resource in British Columbia. This is despite their importance to Aboriginal Peoples and an increasing realization that some products—such as edible mushrooms and floral greenery—support multi-million dollar industries.

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From Coast to Coast to Coast: Partnerships with Indigenous Communities to Advance Ocean Monitoring

Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) holds an organizational commitment to Indigenous engagement with communities across Canada. This presentation will highlight some of ONC’s experiences in supporting Indigenous-led projects and highlight some of ONC’s recent partnerships for ocean monitoring, education, and engagement programs.

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Life's Emergence and Evolution (at Mary Winspear Centre)

Join us in exploring how life got going on Earth nearly 3.8 billion years ago and the mechanisms by which it continues to evolve.

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Love Among the Feathers and Diving Birds Revealed

The romantic adventures of resident waterbirds and the adaptations of diving birds have adapted are examined in this presentation by local bird biologist, James Clowater.

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Parasites and Companions: The Strange Life of Mycoheterotrophic Plants

Most of the non-photosynthesizing plants we once called saprophytes, under the assumption that they lived directly on decaying matter, are now known to depend on fungal partnerships.

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Planning Makes Perfect

Any gardener knows that even the best thought out plan for the garden is subject to change. That is certainly going to happen when dealing with living and growing materials.

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Principles and Concepts of Ecological Restoration

This course introduces you to the practice of ecological restoration. We’ll start by examining the physical and biological characteristics of ecosystems as well as the need to maintain and restore them. We’ll also examine natural and human-caused changes, at ecosystem to species levels, while considering the philosophy and ethics of restoration within legal and policy frameworks.

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Rainwater Harvesting Approvals

With so many groups involved in approvals for potential rainwater harvesting systems, an overview of where things are ‘at’ will be useful for homeowners, practitioners and builders. An evaluation of approval processes and existing municipal programs, codes, and strata/commercial applications within the CRD will be presented in this session, including project examples.

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Rainwater Harvesting: Building Natural Processes

This course provides an introduction to the basic premises of rainwater harvesting and the new lifestyles and ways of thinking that it encourages us to adopt.

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Rainwater Harvesting and Raingardens

Specialty landscape features incorporating infiltration techniques and using rainwater will be discussed, with parameters for design, installation and management.

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Rainwater Harvesting Installations Field Trip

Within the CRD there are numerous rainwater systems, which will be explored in a half-day field trip. Transportation will be the responsibility of participants, with location details and directions to be shared in the fall.

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Rainwater Harvesting for Irrigation

The use of rainwater for irrigation of landscapes for food production will be covered, along with system design and management best practices.

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Rainwater Harvesting for Stormwater Management, Fire Protection and Flushing Uses

Intended for homeowners, builders, and developers, this session involves discussing the various use demands for rainwater and best practices for system design and installation.

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Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Designing and installing a rainwater harvesting system means abiding by regulations and meeting standards to ensure safety, compliance, efficiency and longevity.

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Rainwater Management Best Practices

Managing rainwater as a resource is a change in paradigm from considering runoff as excess or waste, and site-specific operations that are environmentally and ecologically sound are necessary.

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Restoration Ecology

This course provides advanced instruction on the ecological theory underlying restoration projects, emphasizing the unexpected connections that can have significant implications.

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Restoration of Freshwater Aquatic Systems

This course provides students with a holistic view and appreciation for the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and a watershed approach to developing restoration plans.

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Restoration of Marine Aquatic Systems

In this course, you’ll explore marine coastal systems and their restoration potential from an ecological perspective, with particular emphasis on the British Columbia/Washington coasts. Lectures focused on broader scale marine ecosystem impacts and restoration issues are supplemented by hands-on field exercises and research activities focusing on local issues.

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Selection and Propagation of Native Plants

This course introduces students to the principles of native plant selection and propagation to meet site-specific ecosystem restoration objectives.

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Climate Change and the Ocean

As our planet warms, the global ocean is feeling it. This talk outlines interrelated impacts and suggests actions we can take to counteract them.

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Selection and Propagation of Native Plants for Ecological Restoration

This course introduces students to the principles of native plant selection and propagation to meet site-specific ecosystem restoration objectives.

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Seminar in Environmental Restoration

This course consists of the ER390 presentation and a portfolio that is a compilation of the major projects from ER311, 312A and 312B plus one elective to be determined in consultation with the RNS Program’s Academic Administrator.

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Sensational Sides

The side yard has, over the years, become a personal source of inspiration. It can be a space that has a very functional role or simply serve as a stroll filled with beauty. Don't be dismayed by limited space—much can be achieved! A sensational side area will become your "go to" place. This class brings solutions and opportunities for this unique space.

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Soil Conservation and Restoration

This course covers the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of soils and their relationship to restoration.

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Southern Resident Killer Whales: an Assessment of How they are Doing

The southern resident killer whale (SRKW) population is under pressure from a number of assaults, including toxins, noise, and a lack of food. This lecture will review their behaviours and natural tendencies, and assess the three stressors impacting their survival.

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Special Topics in Ecological Restoration: Climate Change in Ecological Restoration

In this new online course, you will explore how climate change can impact the direction of restoration activities through course activities and exploration of current literature.

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Special Topics in Environmental Restoration

Topics for this course will vary each time it is offered. Past course topics include native plant propagation, environmental policy and fire ecology.

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Special Topics in Environmental Restoration: Climate Change in Ecological Restoration

Climate change has many implications for how we conceptualize and practice ecological restoration. In this new online course, you will explore how climate change can impact the direction of restoration activities through course activities and exploration of current literature.

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Special Topics in Environmental Restoration: Fire Ecology

Topics for this course will vary each time it is offered. This year's offering is Fire Ecology.

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Special Topics in Environmental Restoration: Invasive Species and Novel Ecosystems

In this course we’ll examine the biology of invasive species, focusing on the life-history adaptations and dispersal strategies that contribute to their success at both the individual and population levels.

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The Anthropocene Extinction

We will examine how over the past 20,000 years, humans instigated a major large mammalian faunal extinction. We will also study how in the past 150 years or so, human impacts to the land, oceans, ice, atmosphere and the climate system are radically changing Earth’s systems and its inhabitants. 

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The Joy of Birds

In this special Valentine’s Day session, ornithologist James Clowater shares his knowledge and love of birds in two distinct visual presentations.

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The Story of Electricity: From Ancient Greece to the 21st Century

This course follows a timeline of discoveries leading to the scientific understanding of electricity.

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Trees of Victoria

In this series you will learn the basics of tree biology and structure, tree identification, cultural and ethnobotanical uses, and where to find featured species.

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Trees of Victoria I: Conifers

While Vancouver Island has only 34 native species of trees, in the city we can encounter over 500 species. Trees in horticultural plantings could be from anywhere in the world. In this series, you will learn the basics of tree identification and where to find featured species in Victoria and the surrounding area.

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Traditional Systems of Land and Resource Management

This course examines the systems of land and resource management traditionally practiced by Indigenous Peoples and the effects of these systems within the environment.

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Tuning Forks to Rainbows: The Science of Sound, Light and Colour

We’ll explore wave phenomena from sounds waves to spectroscopes, and enjoy learning the scientific laws that govern our lives. Classes include anecdotes of well-known scientists: their lives, methods, discoveries and foibles

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Turn Up the Heat! Physics of Fire, Furnaces and Nuclear Fission

Have you ever wondered why your bare feet feel warm on the mat but cold on the tiles next to it? Or why ice forms from the surface of a lake and not from the bottom? We’ll answer these questions and many more.

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Turn Work into Play

A landscape need not be a work project. Over the years I have found many ways to turn work into play. The more that you see your time in the garden as play, the more likely you will want to spend time gardening.

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Urban Restoration and Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Urban areas and agricultural lands are highly modified landscapes. In this course, we examine how an ecological perspective can be applied to restoring urban areas and approaches to agriculture that promote sustainability and support biodiversity. The course covers two related topics: urban restoration and urban agriculture including sustainable agricultural systems.

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Whale Acoustics: Seeing in the Dark

Acoustics is the primary means that whales and dolphins “see” in the dark depths of the oceans. Some click, some whistle, some moan, some sing—all use their vocal repertoire to communicate, navigate and forage.

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Whales: A World of Sound

Acoustics is the primary means by which whales “see” in the dark depths of the oceans. We will review specialized processes that allow cetaceans to “speak” underwater, and how that influences the way in which they live.

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What Does It Mean?: Mycorrhizas, Mushrooms and Plants

An overview of the world of mycorrhizal mushrooms, focusing on the major types of fungal symbiosis and examining the networks that fungi establish with and between plants. Instructor: Kem Luther, PhD, is a Victoria-based writer and naturalist.

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Woody Plant Care

Pruning, watering and fertilizing are just some of the topics that will be explored. This is not a "how to" class but rather a "what to do" class. David Whiting and Jeff de Jong will lead you on a journey to find what happens inside that tree/shrub.

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Understanding Climate Science

We will also explore how a warming world is changing the world's climates, resulting in various impacts and how humans are being forced to adapt to these changes.

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Climate Crisis Risks

The climate crisis presents real risks to the biosphere as a whole, including us humans. In this course we will investigate how a warming world is changing climates, but also changing weather events - especially extreme weather events.

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Taking Action and Staying Safe

Bringing it down to a personal level, we will try and develop a concrete plan of action for keeping your family safe from the impacts of climate change, regardless of what governments do or don't do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Ecosystems for the Future

This week-long online learning session will bring into focus the practice of restoration of ecosystems at the local and regional level in British Columbia through a series of presentations delivered by faculty from UVic's School of Environmental Studies, First Nations speakers and Elders, and professionals whose work intersects with ecology in diverse ways.

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