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Natural Environment Technician - Conservation and Management (5220)

2 Years - 4 Semesters      Ontario College Diploma     CO-OP

Program Overview

This is a Co-operative Education Program. September and January intakes are available. Please contact the Registrar`s Office for further information.

Want to contribute to conserving and protecting our natural environment? Are you interested in learning how natural ecosystems function and interact? Do you want a rewarding career carrying out work leading to the sustainability of natural resources?

If you answered yes, this is the program for you. Our team of experienced Natural Environment faculty can teach you the skills you`ll need to gain meaningful employment in the rapidly expanding environmental sector.

Students will study the natural environment and learn to understand how ecosystem components interact together. You`ll be taught how to identify organisms including birds, fish, mammals, insects, fungi, plants and trees. The physical parts of ecosystems are critically important to their function, so emphasis will be placed on understanding the climatic and geological forces that have shaped the land. Courses in forest soils and aquatic resources will provide students with knowledge of these processes.

The focus of this program will be on teaching field skills and techniques which are essential for the inventory, evaluation and monitoring of natural communities. Practical field training will be provided to teach navigating in wild areas using compasses and GPS, and using canoes, motorized boats, ATV`s and snowmobiles for back country transportation. You`ll also learn the latest techniques to monitor and measure natural resources.

The location of Sault College makes it ideal for this program. The rugged natural wilderness of the Algoma Highlands and Lake Superior provide unlimited opportunities for outdoor activity. While classroom lectures and labs provide the theoretical background for the program, much of your time will be spent outside doing hands on applications of what you`ve learned.   A critical appreciation of ecosystem function within urban environments will also develop, as students learn of the capacity of the natural environment to solve common urban issues.

Numerous Natural Resource agencies make Sault Ste. Marie their home (e.g., Ontario Forest Research Institute, Great Lakes Forest Research Centre, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Sea Lamprey Control Centre, and Invasive Species Centre).  The city is also touted as the renewable energy capital of Canada.  With the opportunity to visit a variety of local sites, students learn how natural resources are assessed and utilized to provide clean energy.  At the core of these projects are the natural heritage assessments and ongoing monitoring that contribute to long term sustainability.  Students will apply a variety of technologies in this important effort to mitigate climate change, yet ensure an energy rich society.

Graduates of this 2 year program are encouraged to continue their studies in the Natural Environment Technologist program though a technician diploma may be awarded after 4 semesters. Students may have the opportunity to be involved in applied research projects. Please see the `Applied Research Centre` section for more information relating to the Sault College Applied Research Centre.

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and currently unemployed, you may qualify for second career funding for this program! To learn more about your options and how to get started, contact us at

Field Camp

Field Camp