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.

Field School fees and the Lorene Kennedy Field Course Award

Field school fees in addition to the usual tuition fees paid to UVic are charged for these credit courses. However, Lorene Kennedy Field Course Awards are available to partly offset these additional costs for full-time or part-time Environmental Studies undergraduate declared majors, minors, graduate students, and 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.

Summer 2023 course dates, application instructions, and funding details - here!

Current and past Field School offerings

Cultivating Alternatives to the Dominant Order: August 9-20, 2023

ES 380 Topic: Cultivating Alternatives to the Dominant Order

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.

Prerequisite: ES 200

Direct ES 380 questions to Dr. Nick Montgomery

Galiano Island Field Study: June 24-July 2, 2023

ES 471 Galiano Island Field Study is in a compressed format field study focused on regenerative and restorative designs for ecological and social resilience. Offered in partnership with the Galiano Conservancy Association with field portion based on Galiano Island. Additional fees are necessary to support field expenses.


  • If taken as ES 471,
  • ES 200 and 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 program.

Visit Dr. Higgs’ course website for more details and photos.

galiano boat

Permaculture Field School: May 4-12, 2023

ES 473 Practical Permaculture Applications is hosted on a functioning permaculture homestead and educational facility on Cortes Island, BC. The course will emphasize applied and experiential learning, focusing on the design, implementation and maintenance of permaculture systems. Students will learn skills and techniques related to the establishment and maintenance of agroecology, perennial polyculture, animal husbandry, plant propagation, natural building, and the implementation of small-scale water and energy systems. Cortes Island offers a rich variety of ecosystems that we will visit and learn from, including old growth and second growth temperate rainforests, clearcuts, and both marine and freshwater aquatic ecosystems.

Visit UVic Permaculture for more information or contact Hannah Roessler View student video Permaculture Field School 2017 on Linnaea Farm - Cortes Island.

Salmon Ecology and Environmental Policy on Vancouver Island: June 10-22, 2023

ES 482 Topic: Salmon Ecology and Environmental Policy 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. 

Prerequisite: ES 341, or approval of the instructor.

Direct ES 482 questions to Dr. Ben Neal

Urban Ethnoecology: May 15 - June 7, 2023

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.

PrerequisitesES 200; and minimum third-year standing.

No application required - register during summer term registration.

Direct ES 429 questions to Dr. Trevor Lantz

Value Chains of a Terroir-Driven Food Systems: May 31-June 29, 2023

ES 481 Topic: Value Chains of a Terroir-Driven Food Systems and
ES 470 Topic: Advanced Terroir Field School

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.  Terroir Field School

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

Prerequisite: ES 321 or permission

Direct ES 481 questions to Dr. John Volpe

Reconciliation, Ecology, and Place-based Law: TBD

ES 403: Reconciliation, Ecology, and Place-based Law

Explore the structures of policy and law that shape environmental governance on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and how the Indigenous communities and ecosystems of the west coast of Vancouver Island shape law and policy. Work in collaboration with Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations to support their environmental priorities.

Prerequisite: ES 301

How to apply!  Application deadline: TBD.

Direct ES 403 questions to Dr. Deborah Curran

Field Methods in Ethnoecology - not offered in Summer 2023

ES 481 Topic: Field Methods in Ethnoecology is a two week ethnoecological field methods class in partnership with the Songhees Nation. The class is offered at Tl’ches (Chatham Island) and is a compressed format field course 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. Additional fees are necessary to support field expenses and a community event.

Prerequisites: Third year standing, ES 200, and at least one on ES 301, 321, or 341.

Redfish School of Change - not offered in Summer 2023

Salmon don't carry passports. Orcas don't identify as Canadian or American. The waters of the Salish Sea are shared between Canada and the United States, and many of the gifts and challenges of the region affect both nations. How are the people who share the same bioregion-but carry different passports, working for change? How can we, as residents of this special region, best apply our skills and talents to benefit this region?

The Redfish School of Change explores these questions through an interactive and experiential field school. It is designed for undergraduate students interested in being leaders in the fields of ecological sustainability and social equity. Over the course of six weeks, students in this interdisciplinary leadership program travel, live and learn on both sides of the border in the Salish Sea. The program brings together students from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington with students from the University of Victoria. As a Redfish student, you work alongside local educators, serve community groups, and engage with experts in the fields of environment and social justice.

Redfish students at rest and play
Redfish students at rest and play.

Redfish students stop for some rest, and play, while cycling the Lochside Trail in Saanich.  Much of the transportation during the Redfish field program is human-powered, including cycling, kayaking, and hiking.