Make a difference in our environment.

Urban sprawl. Deforestation. Air pollution. Water contamination. Invasive species. The demand for sustainable actions is higher now than ever before, and it's only going to grow.

Our courses in Sustainability will equip you with the tools and knowledge to make a difference. From seed saving to rainwater harvesting, these courses will empower you to have a positive impact on our community.

Sustainability programs

Our certificate and diploma programs—offered in partnership through UVic's School of Environmental Studies—are designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to restore habitats to their natural state, as you pursue a career in sustainability.

Sustainability courses

From hands-on workshops to walking tours, our community Sustainability courses will help you get your hands dirty! Topics include: 

  • how to harvest rainwater 
  • how to save seeds 
  • which plants are native to Vancouver Island
  • environment projects in the community

Courses are offered in the spring and fall. View our available courses below.

Join our LinkedIn community

Stay up to date on current information in the field of restoration and sustainability. Join LinkedIn!


Courses open for registration

Courses open for registration

Ecological Restoration

Advanced ecology training that builds on your knowledge in the field. Courses are offered online, appealing to working professionals as a means to meet their annual professional development requirements or to update their skills and understanding.
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General Studies

This flexible certificate program allows you to customize a course of study to meet your specific learning goals.
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Restoration of Natural Systems - Certificate

Drawing on the latest theories and innovations in the field of ecological restoration, the part-time Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) certificate program gives you a solid background in the principles and practices relating to ecological restoration through online and hands-on learning. You'll learn biodiversity and conservation biology, legal and ethical consideration, how to plan and carry out restoration work, field techniques and more.
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Restoration of Natural Systems - Diploma

A hands-on program that balances theory and practice. This innovative program balances theory and practice across all dimensions of ecological restoration. This dynamic, interdisciplinary credit program provides comprehensive knowledge and skills to those interested in the rapidly emerging field of ecological restoration.
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Fall 2019 Newsletter - Sustainability and Ecological Restoration

There are lots of new additions to our program – read on for details!

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Summer 2019 Newsletter - Sustainability and Ecological Restoration

There are lots of new additions to our program – read on for details!

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A conversation with RNS Director, Dr. Nancy Shackelford

The RNS Program is excited and pleased to introduce our New Program Director, Dr. Nancy Shackelford who will be joining us in January 2020.

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Moralea's Meadow

Plans to restore a Garry Oak meadow in honour of former Metchosin councillor, Moralea Milne—who passed away suddenly in 2018—are being given a helping hand by the division's Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) students and Program Di

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Restoring a Mountain Bike Trail Meets Environmental Goals

For his final RNS Diploma Program project, Todd Redding restored a section of mountain bike trail in the Three Blind Mice trail network near Penticton, BC. Redding planned and undertook the restoration of the trail with the support of the Penticton Area Cycling Association.

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Patagonia Steppe Restoration in Chile

More than half of the earth’s grasslands are degraded from nearly a century of intensive agriculture, resource extraction, and urbanization.

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Forget the bucket list, discover the extraordinary in the ordinary

Our relationship with nature is complex. We usually think in terms of taking from nature. It provides us with our needs and wants. But to be a part of nature we also need to give back. There needs to be reciprocity.

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Julian Anderson Lead Steward for Cuthbert Holmes Park

Julian enrolled in the RNS program in 2002 thinking he’d learn better ways to pull broom, but instead he learned much about planning, and especially the importance of community involvement in ecological restoration. Whenever the courses allowed, he would do his studies and reports about Cuthbert Holmes Park.

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Youth and Ecological Restoration Program helps vulnerable youth gain a sense of worth, belonging and place

Restoration of Natural Systems Program alumni, Wendy Kotilla, founded the Youth and Ecological Restoration Program (YER) in 2004 based on her own experiences of being surrounded by the healing powers of nature.

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Innovative “Native Plant Forage Forest” harmonizes ecological restoration and permaculture

Bringing together ecological restoration and permaculture while also incorporating traditional ecological knowledge held by the Penelakut Tribe is the goal of Adam Huggins’ final project for his RNS Diploma.

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From Neglected Boulevard to Native Plant Space

"If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered species: the child in nature." -Richard Louv, 2005

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Balancing the Books – Ecological Restoration Programs at the University of Victoria take People and Nature into Account

The University of Victoria offers two programs in ecological restoration benefitting from a partnership that brings together content expertise from the School of Environmental Studies (SES) and the sensitivity to adult learner needs and online teaching expertise from the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS).

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Layered Landscapes and Ecological Restoration in Cities

Ecological restoration depends critically on context. In addition to the ecological perspective, ecological restoration in cities needs to consider social and political layers that have impact on a site as well. Context for the site design is critical for a project to endure. There is no single prescription for restoration. To really work, a design requires that we understand the layers of a site’s past history, current influences — both on- and off-site and future impacts.

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A Big Green Idea

Amanda Evans is originally from Toronto but came out to Victoria in 2003 to attend the University of Victoria. In 2012, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Geography, and a Diploma in Restoration of Natural Systems.

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New Program: Certificate in General Studies

Have you ever wanted to design your own credential? Have you ever struggled to find a program that meets your specific interests and needs? Then you might be interested in our newest program: the Certificate in General Studies.

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Kristina Coleman

Like many in her program, Coleman works full time and is five courses into the 12-course program. As a chemist, her day job is analyzing data for an environmental laboratory in Sidney. "I wanted to know more about the environment and systems and how it all fits together," she says. "I thought this program would be a little flaky, like maybe it won't be anything I can use (in life or work). But it definitely is."

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Program Assistant
Tel 250-721-8458