Community Based Environmental Monitoring

Admission Requirements Program Structure 

Program Summary

The Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Program will provide environmental monitoring training through a holistic approach that reflects Indigenous perspectives and worldviews. The curriculum integrated Indigenous knowledge with Western science focusing on monitoring land, water, air, and wildlife across the four (4) seasons of the year. The theory will be taught in class and applied on the land, with more than 60% of the instructional time to be practical learning in the field. One credit course is completely land-based with four (4) one-week traditional learning experiences on the land appropriate to the season.

Indigenous Elders and land users will co-teach all aspects of the program alongside of western scientists. The program is geared towards preparing students (Keepers of the Land) for employment in the environmental monitoring field and/or for pursuing further education in an environmental area.
The objective of this program is to provide classroom and land-based instruction leading to the attainment of the Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Certificate to ready, willing, and able First Nations, Inuit, and Métis participants.

Admission Requirements

 Grade 10 English (one of the following below)
  • English 10-1 or
  • English 10-2 or
  • Provincial Equivilancy or
  • G.E.D. (successful completion of the LanguageArts Reading and Writing Skills portion) or
  • Demonstrated Grade 10 English Skills on College Placement Assessment
 Grade 10 Math (one of the following below)
 Grade 10 Math (one of the following below)
  • Math 10-3 or
  • Math 10C or
  • G.E.D. (successful completion of the Math portion) or
  • Demonstrated Grade 10 Math Skills on College Placement Assessment

Note: The College Placement Assessment is skills based and can be delivered online at a pre-approved location within your community.

Program Structure

The program has courses in a braided learning format in which students spend some time in class and some time on the land practicing skills. The courses in the program of study are fluid and will be visited in each season. There is a culminating week on the land after each seasonal delivery. Safety training and life management and job readiness courses are also built into the program. Students can also expect to be placed in a work experience placement during their course of study in Community-Based Environmental Monitoring.

 Program Structure
Course Course Title Credits
ENVT 111
Health and Safety for the
Environmental Industry
ENVM 101 Mapping and Navigation 2
ENVM 102 Wildlife Monitoring 4
ENVM 103 Vegetation Monitoring 4
ENVM 104
Introduction to Communication
Technologies in Environmental
ENVM 105 Water and Snow Monitoring 2
ENVM 106 Water and Snow Monitoring 2
ENVM 107 Air Monitoring 2
ENVM 108 Habitat Monitoring 4
ENVM 109 Soil Monitoring 2
INDST 101 Indigenous Knowledge 3

Program of Study

ENVT 111: Health and Safety for the Environmental Industry
This course provides an introduction to occupational health and safety and environmental topics to prepare students for entry into the workforce. The curriculum includes a series of modules and certifications to increase students’ understanding of safe work practices and rights and responsibilities of employers and employees as related to analysis of problems and solutions in the environmental occupational sector. Students must demonstrate certifiable proficiencies in WHIMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), Standard First Aid Level C, Wilderness Awareness, and other certifications as required by industry.
ENVM 101: Mapping and Navigation 
The course will train students in the use and application of paper, digital, and computer methods for acquisition, presentation and interpretation of basic geomatic data, basic maps, and ground truthing. Emphasis will be placed on practical applications, but some understanding of basic principles is also essential. Field study will include: Basic Geographic Positioning System (GIS) use, managing data, the use of GPS and compass for navigation, mapping systems and applying thematic information applications. Work will be linked to environmental monitoring applications.
ENVM 102: Wildlife Monitoring 
This module will focus on sampling methods for different target organisms, including birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates. Although some organisms are suitable for counting directly, the presence of others must be interpreted using indirect methods (e.g., hair traps, tracking, songs and calls). Lectures will introduce the strengths and weaknesses of different count methods, and demonstrate how to calculate organism density on the landscape. Destructive and non-destructive sampling methods will also be discussed, and the concept of indicator organisms will be covered. 
ENVM 103: Vegetation Monitoring
The module provides the student with an overview of the forestry industry in northern Alberta. Topics covered include the Indigenous use of trees and other plants in northeastern Alberta, the utilization of tree species by sawmill operations and pulp and paper mills, the ecology of the tree species used, recent developments in sustainable forest management, stand assessment, forest mensuration, silviculture, dendrology, environmental impacts of the forestry industry and forest pest control. The field component allows students to gain practical experience in data collection, interpretation of results, presentation of scientific work and in report writing. 
ENVM 104: Introduction to Communication Technologies in Environmental Monitoring
This module will prepare students to be successful throughout the program and into the workplace. It will give students the foundations needed to develop clear written and verbal communication skills, basic computer knowledge, ability to operate related technologies to environmental monitoring, and it will ensure that the students will be ready for employment upon completion of this program. 
ENVM 105: Environmental Regulatory Processes 
Students will develop understanding of Acts and Regulations and related permit and license requirements under municipal, provincial, and federal jurisdiction pertaining to environmental protection and the development of natural resources in Alberta. Students will also develop understanding of inspection and monitoring terms of reference associated with regulatory compliance and environmental mitigation, interpret line and site drawings, environmental assessment documents, mitigation programs and contractor scope of work. Students will engage in exercises and field study to apply inspection, monitoring and auditing knowledge in real situations. 
ENVM 106: Water and Snow Monitoring 
This module includes both classroom and hands on instruction in monitoring and testing water and snow quality. Instruction will include surface water and groundwater sampling, field testing and proper storage, shipping and documentation. 
ENVM 107: Air Monitoring 
This modules includes both classroom and hands on instruction in monitoring and testing air quality in residential, industrial, and forest/outdoor settings. Instruction will include air sampling for non-continuous (discrete) monitoring, field testing, shipping and documentation of filter or canister, and local automated systems. 
ENVM 108: Habitat Monitoring 
A key feature of sustainability is maintaining healthy habitats. This module will introduce students to the concept of healthy habitat and its importance to biodiversity and ecological function. Course focus will include common measurements collected to evaluate habitat size, composition and health. Methods of habitat assessment will be both general (overall health) and specific (related to sensitive or protected species). 
ENVM 109: Soil Monitoring
An examination of local Indigenous knowledge of soils, elementary aspects of soil formation, soil occurrence in natural landscapes, soil classification, soil resource inventory, basic morphological, biological, chemical and physical characteristics employed in the identification of soils and predictions of their performance in both managed and natural landscapes. 
INDST 101: Indigenous Knowledge
This course involves four weeks of Indigenous knowledge on-the-land teachings provided by Elders and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Students will spend one week per season living in the wilderness and receiving teaching from local area Elders and Indigenous knowledge keepers. 

Contact Us

For more information on our courses and availability, please contact us by email or call 780-799-0535. We are located at the Clearwater Campus in the Bob Lamb building and our office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.