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
60 weeks
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2024 September
2023 September
Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2024 September
2023 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. 

Students have the opportunity to receive over 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 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.


Career Information

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 Off
Academic Level 3 Academic Level 4





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

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English by one of the following methods:

- A Grade 12 College Stream or University Stream English credit from an Ontario Secondary School, or equivalent, depending on the program's Admission Requirements 
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a minimum score of 79 for the Internet-based test (iBT), with test results within the last two years
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test with an overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years.SDS Program Requirements.
- Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test with an overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 53, with test results within the last two years
- A Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE) with an overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 169 with no language skill less than 162, with test results within the last two years
- Fanshawe College ESL4/GAP5 students: Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 8, 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9, or 70% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10
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.
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.
MGMT-5076Advocacy & Leadership3
Students will develop an understanding of the principles of sound leadership and professional advocacy, including the characteristics of excellent leaders. Students will learn to identify personal biases and beliefs and develop an understanding of their impact on both leadership styles and advocacy methods. Students will learn to present a professional opinion and to move forward an idea or concept in the face of opposition.
TOUR-1019Wilderness Survival & Bushcraft Skills3
This course will provide students with an opportunity to investigate and demonstrate a variety of techniques in wilderness survival. This course examines essential skills primarily focused on survival priorities including shelter, fire, water, map, and food preparation. Students will engage in contextual scenarios and apply the survival skills needed in navigating through some of nature's extreme conditions.
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-1020Field Course 13
This introductory course provides an opportunity for students to learn a variety of field skills. Students will have an opportunity to complete additional applicable field certifications in this course that will prepare them for their expeditions. This course focuses on introductory field knowledge and the demonstration of practical knowledge and skills. Students will begin to apply interpersonal communication skills through field work and scenarios.
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.