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Outdoor Adventure Naturalist

Algonquin College
43 weeks
Full time
Diploma / certificate
Scholarships available
On campus
Fall 2020
Algonquin College

Program description

Outdoor Adventure Naturalist

Prepare for an exhilarating career in nature, adventure or ecotourism sectors.

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, and guiding and educating clients through interpretation of natural environments. It has been created with our partner, Wilderness Tours, Canada`s largest outdoor adventure company.

As a student, you spend more than 550 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 skills
  • Tracking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Photography
  • Wild edible plants
  • 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, risk management, financial management and marketing 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:
    • Provide proof of current Standard First Aid certification.
    • Sign and submit an Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Program Assumption of Risk and Indemnifying Release form (form available online on the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist website).
    • Submit Applicant Personal Information, Consent and Health Form supplied by Algonguin College.
  • International applicants must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above along with proof of either: (IELTS / TOEFL) IELTS-International English Language Testing Service (Academic) Overall band of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band; OR TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT) Overall 80, with a minimum of 20 in each component: Reading 20; Listening 20; Speaking 20; Writing 20.
  • Applicants with international transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above and may be required to provide proof of language proficiency.

Should the number of qualified applicants exceed the number of available places, applicants will be selected on the basis of their proficiency in English and mathematics.

Success factors

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.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

The TOEFL® test is accepted by 10,000+ universities and higher education institutes in over 150 countries. Book your test today!

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Program content

Level 01

Core courses

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


  • Astronomy I
  • Rock Wall, Rope and Challenge Course Supervision

Level 02

Core courses

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


  • Astronomy II
  • Photography for Naturalists

Level 03

Core courses

  • 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


  • Rain Forest and Tropical Science
  • Ecotourism and Sustainable Development

Tuition fees

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

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the college website.



Ontario College Diploma


Obtain several industry-related certifications such as:

  • Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) Wild Educator Facilitator
  • IMBA Canada Cycle Tour Leader
  • Paddle Canada Flatwater Canoe Instructor
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • Paddle Canada Level II Skills Sea Kayaking

Learning outcomes

  • 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.
  • Provide leadership through the professional application of risk, group and time management skills.
  • Develop the conceptual framework necessary to consistently identify and interpret ecological concepts, plants, trees, wildlife, constellations and other naturally occurring phenomenon.
  • Plan, market, deliver and evaluate sustainable nature based interpretive programming for a variety of domestic and international clients.
  • Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.
  • Display the technical skills required for employment through the acquisition of industry recognized certifications.
  • 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.

Career opportunities

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.

About this institute

Algonquin College

Algonquin College

Consider Algonquin’s unique campuses Algonquin College offers an experience that includes personalized learning and industry-ready skills through field-work, work placement and co-op. Employers value the combination of theory and experiential learning, at Algonquin College you get it all. In addition...

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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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