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 II: Waterbirds

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

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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 Change and the Ocean

As our planet warms, the global ocean is feeling it. Marine heat waves and coral bleaching events are on the increase while Arctic sea ice shrinks and oxygen levels decline.

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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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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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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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Digging Art

Garden design is heightened when the entire garden unites. It takes more than just having a statement piece. The incorporation of creative expression into the landscape adds a personal stamp that punctuates the theme you want to express.

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Discover Burns Bog

Burns Bog is the most southerly raised peat bog on the west coast of North America. It covers about 3000 ha. of land near the mouth of the Fraser River in Delta.

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Down the Rabbit Hole – Quantum Physics for Nonphysicists

What does this "quantum" word even mean? Does it sound too hard for someone like you? Do you really need to be super smart to understand it?

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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 the Pacific Northwest

Have you always wanted to be able to create your own accurate and professional looking garden design plans? Join Jeff de Jong for this online course that guarantees to be inspiring, challenging and rewarding.

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

Spring is the time to plan your kitchen garden! Over the past few years, kitchen and potager gardens have become extremely popular.

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Gardens in History: Japanese Gardens

Throughout garden history Japanese gardens have been revered for their flawless design details and inspirational compositions, properties which have elevated them from mere gardens to havens of peace, serenity and introspection.

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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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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.

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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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Introduction to Mycology

This course will guide you independently at your own pace through 10 units so that you can attain an understanding of the features of fungi and the roles they play in pathology, nutrient cycling, agriculture, biological control, food, medicine, forests and our urban environments.

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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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Leadership Skills for Ecological Restoration

This course will provide you with skills and tools for effective leadership in ecological restoration.

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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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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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Mushrooms of Greater Victoria

Join Andy MacKinnon and Kem Luther for an exploration of mushrooms found locally in the Greater Victoria Area. An evening presentation on wild mushrooms, fungus groups, and identification will be followed by a full day in the field and classroom collecting, sorting, and identifying. Kem and Andy are cofounders of the Metchosin Biodiversity Project.

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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 BC

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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Nurturing a Conservation Ethic

Societies today are increasingly disconnected from nature and plugged into technology. What does this disconnect mean for conservation in British Columbia?

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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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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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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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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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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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Shop Your Garden

Step back into history to gain a new perspective on the plants in your garden. By learning about the practical uses that many plants have, you may even think twice before tossing some so-called weeds in the compost.

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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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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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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 Future: Forecasting the Future

For most of our human history, we have had a desire to predict the future; which has actually helped us survive and thrive. In this course we will look at some of these deep evolutionary forecasting factors and then look at modern approaches to future forecasting.

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The Future: The Distant Future

Over the next thousand years, humanity is likely to move beyond the Earth and explore the stars. This third course in the series will examine potential colonization of the moon and Mars, plus reaching out to other planets and moons in the solar system.

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The Future: The Near Future

The drive to overcome death, enhanced humans 2.0, and surviving disasters over the next 100 years will be topics in this second course in this series. We will also look at our cultural future including: technology developments such as autonomous cars and weapons, the rise of AI and supercomputers, and employment, economy, religion and social structural changes.

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The Garden Takes Shape

Shape and form are key areas of interest in the garden landscape. The shape of a plant has a direct impact on your visual understanding of an area and can either enhance or detract.

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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 Metaphysics of Quantum Physics

The primary purpose of this course is to make you friends with the concepts of metaphysics and quantum mechanics. You are not required to have a background in math or science to register for this course.

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The Red Planet

For millennia, Mars has been an object of fascination and curiosity. As our nearest and most earth-like neighbour, it holds the highest potential for the discovery of life, and perhaps future colonization by humans.

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The Six Senses

Join Jeff de Jong in this class to explore the six senses of gardening. Plants, projects, and other ways to get all you can from your garden will be shared.

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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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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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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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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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Wildlife Trees and Danger Trees

Learn what makes a wildlife tree special for habitat, and learn what makes a tree dangerous—maybe the same tree! And learn how to assess and classify wildlife trees as a valuable ecological component of local ecosystems.

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