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Outdoor Adventure Naturalist

Algonquin College
43 weeks
Diploma / certificate
Scholarships available
Algonquin College

About this program

Outdoor Adventure Naturalist

The two-year Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Ontario College Diploma program, delivered in a compressed format over 43 weeks, is the perfect choice for anyone interested in working as a professional in the adventure/ecotourism sector, guiding and educating clients through interpretation of natural environments. The Program has been created with our partner, Wilderness Tours, Canada`s largest outdoor adventure company.

As a student, you spend approximately 600 hours completing field study and practical skills training in outdoor settings/classrooms. Explore areas such as:

  • river touring (kayak touring and gentle rafting)
  • no-trace camping and wilderness travel skills
  • cross-country cycle touring
  • flatwater canoeing
  • astronomy
  • winter camping and travel skills
  • tracking
  • wildlife viewing
  • photography
  • wild edible and small plant identification
  • birding

Complete extended activity skills training sessions and take on several expeditions - the last being self-executed. The program`s curriculum also includes business courses in interpretive media, marketing and financial and small business management to enhance your career options and pathways.

Admission requirements

Program Eligibility

  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent).
  • Mathematics, Grade 12 (MAP4C or equivalent).
  • Prior to registration in the program, accepted applicants must:
    1. Provide proof of current Standard First Aid certification(with C Level CPR).
    2. Sign and submit an Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Program Assumption of Risk and Indemnifying Release form (form available online on the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist website).
    3. Submit Applicant Personal Information, Consent and Health Form supplied by Algonquin College.
  • Applicants with international transcripts must provide proof of the subject-specific requirements noted above and may be required to provide proof of language proficiency. Domestic applicants with international transcripts must be evaluated through the International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS) or World Education Services (WES).
  • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service-Overall band of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band; OR TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 80, with the minimum of 20 in each
    component: Reading 20; Listening: 20 Speaking: 20, Writing: 20.

This program is well-suited for students who:

  • Enjoy a hands-on approach to learning about the outdoor adventure tourism industry.
  • Are concerned about social, economic and environmental (SEE) sustainability and want to personally learn more about SEE sustainability in the Outdoor Adventure Tourism industry.
  • Are committed to guiding and teaching others in a variety of environments.
  • Are interested in learning the skills and abilities required to become an Interpretive/Nature based guiding professional.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

The TOEFL iBT® test is accepted by 11,500 universities and higher education institutions in over 160 countries. Book your test today!

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Program content

Level: 01

  • Ecology
  • Flora for Naturalists
  • Fall Camp
  • Computer Applications
  • Communications I
  • Cooperative Education Readiness
  • Leadership for Nature/Interpretive Guides
  • Wilderness Travel, Safety, and Interpretation
  • Flatwater Canoeing
  • River Touring
  • Canoe Travel, Safety and Interpretation

Level: 02

  • Interpretive Program Planning
  • Tracking and Wildlife Viewing
  • Wildlife and Birding
  • Literature and the Environment
  • Marketing the Tourism Experience
  • Interpretive Media
  • Cycle Touring, Safety, and Inerpretation
  • Winter Travel, Safety and Tracking
  • Risk Management - Outdoor Adventure
  • Wilderness First Aid Skills

Level: 03

  • Indigenous Peoples: Past, Present and Future
  • Interpretive Program Design and Delivery Project
  • Student Directed Field Trips
  • Wild Edibles and Small Plant Identification
  • Geology and Landforms
  • Small Business and Financial Management
  • Sustainable Trail Development
  • Leadership Camp
  • Sea Kayak Expedition

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Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.


For more information about tuition fees, please visit the college website. 


Credential: Ontario College Graduate Certificate

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Create risk management systems, consistent with best practices, that assess risk and exposure, manage liability and provide a safe and sustainable environment for clients, staff and resources.
  2. Provide leadership through the professional application of risk, group and time management skills.
  3. Develop the conceptual framework necessary to consistently identify and interpret ecological concepts, plants, trees, wildlife, constellations and other naturally occurring phenomenon.
  4. Plan, market, deliver and evaluate sustainable nature based interpretive programming for a variety of domestic and international clients.
  5. Identify and apply discipline-specific factors that enable their contribution to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.
  6. Display the technical skills required for employment through the acquisition of industry recognized certifications.
  7. Identify and develop business, marketing, management and financial strategies to capitalize on opportunities in the nature, interpretive and eco/sustainable tourism segment of the outdoor adventure industry.

Continuing studies

Graduates may also pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in the nature/adventure/ecotourism sectors.

Career paths

To meet the expressed industry needs of provincial, national and international adventure tourism, parks and education centres, graduates are trained and prepared to work as nature and heritage interpreters, nature or ecotourism guides, program managers and/or entrepreneurs. They also meet the professional standards established by the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council Heritage Interpreter program.

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About this institute

Algonquin College

Consider Algonquin’s unique campuses Algonquin College, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, offers an experience that includes personalized learning and industry-ready skills through field-work, work placement and co-op.  With more than 300 programs, including degrees and graduate certificates, we have the...

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Why study at Algonquin College

Canada ranked #1 study abroad country

Canada has been ranked the #1 study abroad country in the world for 2020! Known for its untouched natural beauty, friendly and welcoming locals, and a culture of tolerance and diversity, Canada is a clear choice for students looking to study abroad.

Contact info

Algonquin College

1385 Woodroffe Avenue
K2G 1V8 Ottawa Ontario

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