Field schools

Enthnoecology fieldschool students working with plants

Students working together on Tl’ches (Chatham Island) during an ethnoecology field school offered in partnership with the Songhees Nation. Students and community members contributed to a collaborative research project led by the Songhees Nation.

student group lunch peru

Professors Peredo and Turner with their students in Lamas, Peru’s Andean-Amazon region living sustainably.

Students participating in a trust fall exercise

In the Redfish School of Change, students learn to be leaders in the fields of ecological sustainability and social equity.

Students hiking in a field

A field school offers a unique experiential learning environment that is not possible in a traditional classroom.

Students participating in a personal reflection exercise overlooking the Salish Sea on Saturna Island

Critical reflection and journaling are important academic components of the Redfish experience.

group photo lodge

Galiano Island Field Study students with Professor Eric Higgs, summer 2018.

2024 Field schools

2024 Field School Info Session Video

Urban Ethnoecology: May 13-June 5, 2024

ES 429: Urban Ethnoecology 


Use an ethnoecological lens to explore intersections between people and place in urban environments. Visit and work with urban agriculture, urban foraging, urban forests and green spaces in Victoria.

Field Course Fee: $130

PrerequisitesES 200; and minimum third-year standing.

No application required - register during summer term registration.

Direct questions to Dr. Trevor Lantz

Field Methods in Ethnoecology: May 13-24, 2024

ES 481 Topic: Field Methods in Ethnoecology

Tl'ches (Chatham Island)

An ethnoecological field methods class in partnership with the Songhees Nation designed to provide students with both fundamental and more advanced field skills necessary for a career working outside in the sciences. This is entirely hands-on training, travelling each morning by zodiac from Victoria to the islands.

Skills include wilderness navigation and travel, surface survey, ethnobotany and plant identification, tree increment boring, field mapping, subsurface testing, soils and sediments analysis, note-taking, photography, and many other practical skills. While you will learn advanced technology, such as drone mapping and high-precision GPS, the spirit of the course is one rooted on the land, of taking the time to develop your ability to see the land and ocean in new ways.

This class involves both Lekwungen Coast Salish elders and community members, and your field work actively contributes to a collaborative research project with the Songhees Nation. 

Field Course Fee: $1000

Prerequisites: Third year standing, and at least one of ES 301, 321, or 341.

Applications due February 1. 

Direct question to Dr. Darcy Mathews


Salmon Ecology and Environmental Policy on Vancouver Island: June 10-21, 2024

ES 482 Topic: Salmon Ecology and Environmental Policy on Vancouver Island

Various locations on Vancouver Island

Salmon on Vancouver Island are declining. This course will travel up Vancouver Island to explore the conservation situation of salmon and the ways to address this decline. We will meet with local practitioners to understand the changing environmental, ecological, political, and historical aspects of salmon, and how various interests in this space interact and conflict. We will visit wild salmon rivers, interact with harvesters and First Nations groups, see hatchery and farm operations and speak with government officials and scientists. 

Field Course Fee: $1500

Prerequisite: ES 341, or approval of the instructor.

Applications due February 1. 

Direct questions to Dr. Ben Neal 


Terroir Field School: May 29-June 27, 2024

ES 371: Terroir Field School 

Angers, France

Travel to Angers France to explore the intricacies of terroir-driven food systems.  Visit farms, businesses, and experts in regional and sustainable food production. This course is offered in collaboration with École Supériure d’Agricultures in Angers, France. Visit the Terroir Field School

Note: this field school is comprised of 2 courses, or 3.0 credits.

Field Course Fee: approximately 2150 Euros, not including return airfare to France

Prerequisite: permission of instructor

Applications due February 1. 

Direct ES 481 questions to Dr. John Volpe

Galiano Island Field Study: June 21-30, 2024

ES 471/ER 412 Galiano Field Study

Galiano Island 

Explore regenerative and restorative designs for ecological and social resilience on Galiano Island at the Galiano Learning Centre in partnership with the Galiano Conservancy Association. Visit the course website for more details and photos.

Field Course Fee: $900


  • if taken as ES 471, ES 341 or permission of the school. 
  • if taken as ER 412, ER 311 and admission to Certificate or Diploma program in Restoration of Natural systems, or permission of the school.

Applications due February 1. 

Direct questions to Dr. Eric Higgs

galiano boat

Cultivating Alternatives to the Dominant Order: August 16–30, 2024

ES 380 Topic: Cultivating Alternatives to the Dominant Order

Denman Island (Sla-dai-aich)

Explore the theory and practice of autonomous and collective ways of living, learning, building, and making decisions. Based on Denman Island, field visits include a variety of workshops, discussions, and hands-on activities. Students will learn and practice consensus-based decision-making to self-organize collective activities.

Field Course Fee: $1600

Prerequisite: ES 200

Applications due February 1. In addition to standard application procedures, please also complete this form:

Direct questions to Dr. Nick Montgomery

Field school fees and the Lorene Kennedy Field Course Award

Each field school requires an additional fee beyond regular tuition. Lorene Kennedy Field Course Awards are available to partly offset these additional costs for full-time or part-time:

  • Environmental Studies undergraduate declared majors and minors,
  • Environmental Studies graduate students,
  • students in the RNS Diploma Program.

Field school fees must be paid in full, and a percentage will be reimbursed in the semester following successful completion of the course.

Please direct general questions about field schools to Ryan Hilperts, Field School Coordinator, at 

How to apply

Apply to instructors by February 1 (note ES 429: Urban Ethnoecology does not require an application).

Email the course instructor one PDF file that contains:

  1. a one-page cover letter outlining your interest in the course, your preparation for it, and how it supports your academic and professional plans,
  2. a CV or resume, 
  3. unofficial transcripts. 

Name the file as follows: Last Name, Course Number, Application (SmithES481Application.pdf)

Please include the course number in your email subject line.

Application & payment timeline

February 1: Application deadline

February 15: Notification of acceptance

March 1: 50% of field course fee (non-refundable) deposit due to secure your spot in the course

The due date for the remainder of the course fees varies by field school.