Program Overview

Prepare for a career in the ecotourism industry leading authentic learning experiences that respect local ecological principles. This outdoor adventure program utilizes an experiential learning approach that allows students to gain hands-on experience, develop skills and earn certifications. What could be better than a career sharing the wonder and beauty of nature with others?

Program Details

Program Code
Ontario College Diploma
45 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
2022 September
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
2022 September

Your Learning Experience

To prepare you for the dynamic and complex ecotourism industry, this outdoor adventure diploma program has been built on three key pillars:

  • Adventure Expedition
  • Interpretive Naturalist
  • Business Entrepreneurship

You’ll study marketing and business strategies, along with ecological and science-based courses in flora and fauna, geology, adventure guiding, environmental interpretation and education, management of national and heritage of natural areas, and wilderness first aid. Watch our program video to learn more.

Our Expedition 3 provides students with an opportunity to use their program skills to complete a multi-day canoe trip, enabling students to work collaboratively and gain essential canoe-tripping experience.

Students have the opportunity to receive 16 outdoor certifications upon graduation, ensuring they have the skills to be successful in a variety of relevant disciplines. When finished the program, you’ll graduate with a holistic view of the natural world, and with knowledge of the conservation, tourism and business sides of the adventure industry.

The Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership (Co-op) program, leading to a two-year Ontario College Diploma, provides the training, practical skills and eco-tourism industry experience to prepare graduates for work locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally as Interpretive Naturalist leaders.

You'll have the skills to develop and manage resorts, trails, and interpretive projects. You’ll be able to design, deliver, and evaluate programs that will affect people deeply, and serve your passions for the earth in all of its wonder and beauty.

This program is delivered in an accelerated format over four continuous terms. Students begin the program in September and complete it the following December, sixteen months later. Two terms of academic work are followed by one co-op term and then one final academic term.


This program is accredited by Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada. This accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for co-operative education programs in Canada, and recognizes Fanshawe's commitment to excellence.

Co-op Opportunities & Career Information

Co-op Opportunities 

The Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership program offers a cooperative education component, which provides students the opportunity to gain invaluable first-hand work experience within their chosen field. Here are some co-op jobs that have kick-started the careers of some Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership students before even graduating! 

Adventure Guide
Join a family of progressive, innovative and entrepreneurial co-workers who are passionate about enhancing guest experiences in the resort industry and believe in the transformative power of adventure.

Kayak Guide
Operate kayak tours and complete training in National Parks and Biosphere Reserve 

For more information regarding co-op opportunities, please visit our co-op site or contact Fanshawe’s Co-op Office at to connect with a consultant.

Career Information

Graduates of Fanshawe’s Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership program are prepared to begin their careers as leaders within the eco-tourism industry with the ability to develop, operate and manage attractions, resorts, activities and trails. With the skills needed to design, deliver and evaluate meaningful interpretive programs for a variety of audiences, adventure awaits! 

Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership program:

Leadership Adventure Program Director
Connect people with nature by facilitating outdoor recreation and experiential learning.

Wilderness Guide
Lead tours specialized in providing Algonquin Provincial Park educational adventures to travellers from around the world.

Summer Travel Counsellor
Share your passion about the natural wonders and urban adventures to help visitors discover what Ontario has to offer.

Program Progression
Fall Winter Summer
Academic Level 1 Academic Level 2 Co-op
Academic Level 3







Being a part of this unique and intensive program, that combines both the love of travel and the outdoors, quickly became a very special time in my life. It allowed me to push myself in directions I never thought possible before.

Leanne Gauthier-Helmer
AEL1J Grad and Instructor

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

1. Perform interpretive naturalist activities using ecological, environmental and geographical concepts related to flora, fauna, and wildlife.

2. Instruct and safely guide others in ecotourism activities and adventure expeditions such as canoeing, snowshoeing, backpacking, and camping.

3. Design, deliver, and evaluate meaningful interpretive programs for a variety of audiences.

4. Develop and present a marketing plan for ecotourism and adventure expeditions.

5. Develop a business plan capitalizing on opportunities in the adventure expeditions and ecotourism industries.

6. Provide safe environments for interpretive and outdoor activity by using current and relevant risk management concepts and strategies.

7. Complete all work in compliance with the appropriate ethical, legislative and regulatory requirements of the ecotourism and adventure-tourism industries.


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Robin Tapley

Admission Requirements

OSSD with courses from the College (C), University (U),
University/College (M), or Open (O) stream WITH:
- Any Grade 12 English (C) or (U)
Academic and Career Entrance Certificate (ACE)
Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate (GED) 
Mature Applicant with standing in the required course stated above
English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Test Score
IELTS Academic Overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands
CAEL Overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands. score of 80 in listening
PTE Academic 53
Cambridge English Overall score of 169 with no language skill less than 162
ESL4/GAP5 Minimum grade of 80% in Level 8, 75% in Level 9, or 70% in Level 10
Duolingo 105


Learn More about English Language Requirements

Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

See Post-Admissions Requirements


Level 1
Gen Ed - Take a 3 credit General Education elective course
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
WRIT-1042Reason & Writing 1-Tourism/Hospitality3
This course will introduce tourism and hospitality students to essential principles of reading, writing, and reasoning at the postsecondary level. Students will identify, summarize, analyze, and evaluate multiple short readings and write persuasive response essays to develop their vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and critical thinking.
MKTG-1083Marketing & Market Research Basics3
This course will provide students with a comprehension of the basic concepts and processes of marketing and market research. Students will learn to research and analyze market opportunities; evaluate product concept and design; pricing decisions, evaluate distribution, promotion as well as develop an awareness of technology driven markets.
ENVR-1029Wildlife of North America3
This course will introduce students to the wildlife in North America according to geographic locales. Students will develop an understanding of wildlife identification, habitat selection, safety, and conservation principles. From this foundation the students will understand the responsibility of wildlife management, nature appreciation and the opportunities in developing successful Wildlife Viewing Programs. Wildlife viewing activities will include Active, Passive, Guided and non-guided viewing programs.
ECOL-1003Ecology & Conservation3
This course will introduce students to major ecological and conservation concepts and techniques. An overview of local and global environmental issues is included. Students will examine individual, group, and governmental activities important for protecting natural ecosystems. Students will review pertinent literature in order to identify problems and issues; utilize research methodology for the study of natural ecosystems; and develop an understanding of appropriate solutions and analytical techniques.
ENVR-1037Environmental Sustainability3
Students will learn how natural environments function and how humans can manage their ecosystems in order to live sustainably. This course will provide an overview of the principles of sustainability and will familiarize students with a number of environmental sustainability initiatives and practices. Students will be able to articulate the benefits of developing sustainable business practices; analyse existing practices, and foster attitudes of responsible environmental management. Students will examine concepts that challenge our natural environment (including air/water pollution, agriculture, climate change, human population growth, resource management) and examine case studies and best practices for sustainability and preservation of sensitive ecosystems.
PHOT-1076Ethical Wildlife Photography3
This course will provide a study that combines the intricate field components of wildlife biology and wildlife photography. By applying the skills learned in the classroom, students will create a series of unique wildlife photographic portfolios in actual wildlife expedition experiences. This course explores both the fundamentals of photography and the complex relationship between photography and the natural world.
TOUR-1006Adventure Expedition 1-The North Shore3
The fall expedition program is designed to allow the students an opportunity to learn and explore the natural environment under the guidance and supervision of program coordinator Robin Tapley. During the field course and assignments students will practice and administer their learning skills in real life scenarios. They will have an opportunity to work with professionals, develop partnerships and create experiential learning activities within each of the selected Expedition Regions. The "North Shore" Expedition will challenge them to understand, assess, evaluate and develop unique interpretive messages, special events and activities. The students will be participating in a series of daily activities including: 1) developing program concepts, 2) understanding food safety and menu planning, 3) evaluating and reviewing site plans and unique environmental locations 4) developing and creating trails and interpretive signs, 5) participating in birding inventories and developing interpretive programs 6) developing interpretive messages relating to unique habitats, 7) developing and delivering astronomy programs, 8) wildlife and astro-photography sessions, and 9) wild edibles programs. The students will be engaged in learning activities and participate in existing programs, have behind the scenes tours of the partnering facilities and participate in creating a series of new and innovative experiences. The partnering organizations may include the following: 1) Long Point Eco Adventure Centre, 2) Bird Studies Canada, 3) Delta Waterfowl Centre, and 4) Adventure Works Associates.
View all courses

Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.