Natural pathways carved into greenery


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.

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


Sustainability programs

Our Restoration of Natural Systems 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.

Our Mapping with Drones micro-credential will show you how to monitor environmental change from above. Develop your analytical skills to identify real world features and structures in ways that allow you to provide detailed assessments of our planet. You will feel like you are soaring over the landscape while interacting with our real world datasets.

The newly launched Climate Action Planning micro-credential is a great opportunity to learn the foundations of planning for climate action. It is well suited for a diverse range of people such as educators, business leaders and community organizers who want to engage with the climate crisis and be climate action practitioners. For those looking for a longer, university accredited program, we also offer the Transformative Climate Action Certificate.

New program coming soon: Tourism Sustainability. With extreme weather events occurring more and more frequently, and ambitious new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there is a growing need worldwide for climate change adaptation. Through flexible online learning, the Micro-certificate in Tourism Sustainability is designed to foster an understanding of sustainability and enhance the skills of individuals currently employed or seeking a career in the tourism sector. To get updates about this program, join our mailing list

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.


Courses open for registration
Courses open for registration

Summer Arts Series

Annual summer arts series for professional and practicing artists, and UVic alumni.
View series

UVic on the Peninsula

Each term we offer a selection of lectures and short courses in Sidney, most of which take place at the Mary Winspear Centre.
View series

Courses open for registration

Climate Action Planning

The Climate Action Planning micro-credential (CAP) is a great opportunity to learn the foundations of planning for climate action. You will develop the skills needed for you as a professional to put into action at all government levels.
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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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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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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.
View program

Transformative Climate Action

The need for transformative climate action is urgent. An effective and practical response requires significant changes to how we live. The Transformative Climate Action Certificate (TCA) provides the tools needed to make social, cultural and political changes that support diverse, ethical and flourishing communities.
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Building pathways to sustainable living environments through permaculture

Permaculture offers a mindset shift that encourages us to view our relationship with the environment as a partnership rather than a dominance. By aligning our daily practices with the wisdom of nature, we can create sustainable, regenerative systems that provide for our needs while respecting the intricate balance of the natural world. Embracing permaculture means taking a step toward a brighter and more sustainable future.

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New program aims to boost sustainability in the tourism sector

In response to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and the global need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the new Micro-certificate in Tourism Sustainability is launching with Continuing Studies at UVic.

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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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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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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 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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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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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