Worker looking up, tall trees

Ecological Restoration

The natural world needs you.

Designed for working professionals, the programs and courses in Ecological Restoration offer a variety of options designed to advance your knowledge and skills in the field.

In these courses and programs—offered in partnership through UVic's School of Environmental Studies—you’ll learn about the most current restoration practices from experienced and knowledgeable instructors, surrounded by peers who share your passion for restoring disturbed and degraded ecosystems. The curriculum takes a holistic approach that recognizes the importance of both the social and biophysical dimensions of ecological restoration.

You'll learn how to: 

  • incorporate native species and traditional knowledge into restoration planning and design
  • apply an ecosystem approach to the planning and design of restoration activities
  • understand the ethics, laws and policies governing restoration work
  • work with urban ecosystems and the urban/rural interface
  • manage invasive species

Ecological Restoration programs

Our Ecological Restoration programs are designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to restore habitats to their natural state.

PROGRAM Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) Diploma Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) Certificate Ecological Restoration Professional Specialization Certificate
CREDENTIAL Diploma Certificate Professional Specialization Certificate
PROGRAM FEES* $8,580.00 (domestic students); $33,400.00 (international students) $5,760.00 $3,300.00
PROGRAM LENGTH 16 months – 6 years 16 months – 6 years 16 months – 2 years
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS 3rd year undergraduate standing 3rd year undergraduate standing Undergraduate degree  + 2 years of professional work in the field
BEST SUITED FOR Anyone interested in a career in restoration who needs a university credential in this area; or an undergrad student seeking additional specialization to their degree Anyone interested in a career in restoration, who already has a degree and some professional experience in a related area Professionals working in the field of landscape architecture, design, management, agrology, biology, forestry, mining, etc., and are seeking advanced training in ecological restoration
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*Fees listed are estimated based on current rates

Which Ecological Restoration program should I take?

Take this short quiz to find out. These questions will guide you through the eligibility guidelines for our Ecological Restoration programs.

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RNS program information session

Join us for a free 30-minute Zoom information session where we will introduce you to the RNS program as a whole and outline the differences between the two streams. Learn about the program strengths, where our students typically find work and explore if this program is right for you.

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Program resources

We've compiled a list of student resources for the RNS certificate and diploma programs, including websites, course planners and learning modules. Access RNS Student Resources page

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Courses open for registration
Courses open for registration

Community Fishers Training

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 Ocean Networks Canada’s world‐leading oceanographic data management system, Oceans 2.0.
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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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Green Shores™ Training

Open to homeowners and shoreline professionals, these one- and two-day workshops provide information about the Green Shores program, including its rationale, benefits and application.
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LiDAR Fundamentals for Climate Change Risk Analysis

LiDAR is a remote sensing survey method that facilitates 3D mapping of the Earth’s surface including urban and rural topography. This program equips learners to use and analyze LiDAR data for developing critical information towards mitigating the impacts of climate change.
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Mapping with Drones

Do you want to take your connection to our planet to new heights? Flying drones gives you the chance to navigate the Earth from above and reach new perspectives like never before.
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Ocean Acoustic Monitoring

Ocean acoustic monitoring empowers community members to easily contribute high-quality, continuous data on noise levels to help better understand and inform policy on the changes that may be impacting the ocean environment over time.
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Restoration of Natural Systems – Certificate

Knowing where we are headed, from an ecological standpoint, requires an understanding of environmental impacts and recovery strategies. The Restoration of Natural Systems program provides a bridge that connects this knowledge with the practical skills needed to solve complex restoration issues.
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Restoration of Natural Systems – Diploma

The Restoration of Natural Systems program provides a bridge that connects this knowledge with the practical skills needed to solve complex restoration issues. The program’s holistic approach will empower you, as someone who is passionate about the environment, to make a difference in how we connect with the natural world.
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Unearthing the mysteries of mycology

Juliana McCaig, an avid appreciator of fungi, shares her thoughts and experiences after completing the Introduction to Mycology course with Continuing Studies at UVic. This popular, self-paced community course is open to learners who want to dive deeper into the world of fungi. Here’s what Juliana had to say about her experience: 

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Feb. 2024 Newsletter - Sustainability and Ecological Restoration

Winter 2024 Sustainability and Ecological Restoration Newsletter.

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From Trees to People: The Social Phenomenon of Climate Change

Since the fall of 2023, Dr. Kara Shaw has led the development of two programs with Continuing Studies at UVic. The newest of the two is the Climate Action Planning program—a micro-certificate that blends policy, social justice and science so learners become empowered to implement effective and collaborative action across various communities.

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UVic students support the Conservation Programs Branch

Students from the University of Victoria volunteer with the Conservation Program Branch’s Ecosystem Conservation Team to further the Parks Canada Mandate.

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The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

This year launches the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. It is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global goals.

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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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BLOOM – Local project establishes pollinator habitats

Inspired by her work with the RNS program, Tamara Batory has initiated a pollinator garden project for her neighborhood block in the Oaklands community of Victoria, BC.

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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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RNS Advisory Committee

The Restoration of Natural Systems and Ecological Restoration Programs are supported and guided by an Advisory Committee of experts who review and make recommendations to keep our programs current.

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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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Managing urban lighting may help migrating birds

More than half of all North American bird species are migrants, moving seasonally between their breeding and wintering grounds. In his final research project for the RNS program, Andrew Elves analyzed how artificial light in Beacon Hill Park exacerbates habitat fragmentation, interfering with the circadian rhythms of migratory birds.

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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 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 and the sensitivity to adult learner needs and online teaching expertise from the Division of Continuing Studies.

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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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Our RNS Program turns 20!

2016 marks the 20 year anniversarry of our Restoration of Natural Systems (RNS) Program and we are thrilled to applaud the contribution this award-winning curriculum has been making in the field of ecological restoration since 1996.

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A short walk

Dr. Emily Gonzales is an Ecological Restoration Specialist at Parks Canada where she coordinates conservation programs, develops policy and provides scientific advice for ecological restoration projects in national parks. She has also worked for Environment Canada as a Biodiversity Analyst and was the Director of Science AL!VE, a non-profit organization for science education.

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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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​Jolene Kendzel, Program Assistant
Tel 250-721-8072