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Land Guardian Program

Description

NRTG’s Land Guardian Program (LGP) is designed to meet the increasing demand for skilled guardians employed within communities, industry, non-profit organizations, or regional stakeholder groups. Graduates of this program are capable of performing guardian roles and observing, recording, and reporting results, information, and advice to industry stakeholders, government and regulators. Participants learn practical skills and abilities in four core skill areas:

  • Safety and Fieldwork Logistics: Field safety, planning, data collection and management, navigation and orienteering, measuring and reporting.
  • Environmental Monitoring: Construction site monitoring, spill response, erosion and sediment control, working with legislation, identification, protection and management of sensitive habitats & species.
  • Identification & Assessment of Environmental Features: Basic identification of significant fish, wildlife & vegetation species; introduction to species-at-risk, and rangeland, marine, riparian, and sensitive habitats.
  • Management: Technical writing, business correspondence, fish & wildlife management, project management and supervision.

The LGP is a comprehensive educational program, designed and developed by NRTG with input from industry sector representatives (e.g., oil & gas, mining, agriculture, marine, forestry, fisheries, environment, cultural heritage, linear development and natural resources). Delivery of the program is over five consecutive weeks (200 course hours) with classroom time conducted on-line (Zoom) and directed field exercises completed by the students in their local area. Roles which students will be able to fulfill upon completion of the program include Land Guardian, Watchman, Field Supervisor, and Land Management positions. 

How does this program differ from the Environmental Field Skills Certificate program?

The role of the Land Guardian is independent and impartial from that of a contractor or project owner. The Guardian observes, records, and reports upon activities relating to natural resource projects and possesses a suite of skills and abilities in field techniques, communications, safety, and management. However, the Guardian is not an environmental monitor. An environmental monitor is involved in performing the technical aspects (e.g., water quality monitoring, fish, wildlife, and vegetation surveys, monitoring, etc.) of a natural resource-related project. The Land Guardian interacts much more with communities, regulators, project personnel, engineers, biologists, and other professionals. They are viewing activities upon the land and water through the lens of Indigenous concerns and rights, and this position entails a considerable amount of written and verbal communication with a very wide range of people. The environmental monitor has a much smaller scope of responsibilities with a focus on monitoring day-to-day construction activities or specific concerns.

The Guardian needs to be familiar with the activities and sampling methods — their efficacy and limitations — of the environmental monitor in order to interpret the results. Thus there is some overlap between the two positions. The relationship between the two is analogous to the apprentice and journeyman process in vehicle repair – the apprentice (environmental monitor) completes the day-to-day tasks but may not see the bigger picture. The journeyman (guardian) may delegate the routine tasks to the apprentice while keeping her eye on the bigger picture. Both positions are integral and they rely upon each other.

NRTG’s Environmental Field Skills Certificate program and Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program will train students to perform the many technical duties and specific tasks of environmental monitoring. A LGP graduate will know industry standards and legislation, and, in addition to an understanding of how standard data collections are completed, will know how to effectively observe, record, and report their findings in order to make changes or protect resources.


Outcomes

The Land Guardian program meets the increasing demand for skilled Land guardians employed within the community, industry, non-profit organizations, or regional stakeholder groups. Graduates of this program are suitably qualified to perform guardian roles that may include environmental monitoring, assessment and protection, and report to and communicate effectively with other industry stakeholders, government and regulators.

Upon successful completion, program graduates are qualified and able to:

  • Observe, record and report environmental field data
  • Interpret and apply environmental legislation in a reporting role
  • Write effective business communications and reportsIdentify and classify types of vegetation, wildlife, fish and soils
  • Prepare and present briefings to appropriate partiesIdentify and interpret environmental field conditions
  • Develop reports and communicate results with industry stakeholders
  • Identify cultural heritage surveys and studiesConduct environmental monitoring during construction projects
  • Conduct water quality & field assessment proceduresInterpret and implement environmental legislation
  • Identify and interpret environmental field conditions
  • Identify procedures for standard environmental assessments for: water, vegetation, wildlife (ungulates, birds, amphibians), fish, soil, & wetlands
  • Identify and classify types of vegetation, wildlife (ungulates, birds, amphibians), fish, soils and wetlands
  • Identify best practices for environmental monitoring during construction projects
  • Identify and contrast best practices for fish habitat and streambank restoration
  • Assess fish passage at stream crossing and beaver activity sites
  • Design and implement field monitoring programs
  • Manage project objectives, budgets, resource scheduling and crew supervision
  • Identify sensitive species and uphold sensitive habitat working windows
  • Identify best practices for erosion and sediment control measures

Course format

The LGP is offered as an online training program combined with independent exercises and field practica. In this ‘blended’ format, NRTG instructors deliver course content and theory online in short, focused presentations and assign field exercises to students who then conduct these on their own. Later in the afternoon the students reconvene with the instructor and fellow students to review & receive feedback on results. In this format, students will be required to conduct outdoor activities and record and submit field data, photographs, or video (using cell phones, etc.) for group reviews and discussions. This online course format implements and upholds all NRTG policies and requirements to ensure a safe working environment for everyone. In the online format, course participants are in the field each day learning important skills and procedures in a very realistic and practical setting, under the direction of experienced instructors.

Course Customization

The LGP can be customized for an organization or community based on their needs. This may include additional content such as RISC Archaeology & CMT Training for Crew Members or any other NRTG training program. NRTG can also develop new course content upon request. The LGP also recommends a number of electives to complement a LGP Certificate (see below). NRTG will assist groups with coordinating a community-based delivery of these or other training options:

  • Swift Water Rescue
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Off-Road Driving
  • RISC Archaeology & CMT Training
  • Cultural Heritage Monitor
  • SVOP Operator
  • ATV Certification
  • Snowmobile Operators Certification

Please contact us with your ideas and needs, and we’ll work with you to design and deliver a specialized training program that meets your needs.

Potential Students 

Course participants typically include; existing land guardians, environmental monitors and technicians, Aboriginal stakeholders, and resource workers.

Pre-requisites

None.  A standard one or two-day First Aid course is required.

Personal Equipment Requirements

Course participants are required to provide their own personal protective equipment.

  • Suunto PM5 Clinometer
  • Waterproof Field Book
  • Suitable outdoor clothing
  • Bag lunch & refreshments each day

Course Fees

Course fees will vary by course delivery location.  For further information, please refer to our Course Schedule.   

How do I Attend?

The Land Guardian Program is available via our website schedule, or on contract to community groups. The LGP is regularly scheduled throughout the year. (providing suitable weather conditions for student field exercises). Interested groups or organizations can also arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this program. In either scenario, contact NRTG for further information.

If you would like to have the LGP delivered to your group or community, please consider the following:

  1. Contact us well in advance of your preferred course start date.
  2. If applicable, secure program funding
  3. Recruit course participants ( this course has a minimum enrollment of 10 participants).
  4. Coordinate course participant equipment, classroom facility, and contractual agreement with NRTG.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Aboriginal Guardian Program (AGP) is offered year-round with most training deliveries occurring in February in coastal regions and March in interior regions throughout North America. Please refer to our Schedule page for course timing and locations.

Course participants are required to provide their own personal protective field clothing, waterproof field notebook, appropriate field clothing, own transportation, computer and internet access.

You can purchase chestwaders from Canadian Tire, Cabela’s, or industry suppliers such as Dynamic Aqua Supply (Surrey, BC), IRL Supplies (Prince George, BC), Winners Edge (Lillooet, BC), Surplus Herby’s (Williams Lake, Kamloops, Vernon BC), Forestry equipment suppliers across Canada, and other outdoor equipment outfitters. Chestwaders can also be purchased from any flyfishing shop across Canada.

No, there is no requirement to recertify for this program. If there is a significant pause in your environmental monitoring fieldwork (e.g., four years or more), we would recommend that you recertify with NRTG. Note: all NRTG courses include free, lifetime certification. Enrol once – come back anytime.

Absolutely! First, identify an upcoming AGP program of interest and notify NRTG well in advance of the start date. We will do our best to create a free seat for past NRTG students and coordinate your attendance during the program.

A guardian role serves as the ‘eyes and ears’ on traditional territories. A guardian typically does not conduct environmental assessment work, but rather, they monitor and report upon the activities of other resource workers and related activities. 

The 120-hour (three-week) Environmental Field Skills (EFS) Certificate program provides course participants with high-quality, in-demand Environmental Monitoring field skills. EFS program‘graduates’ are qualified and capable to lead or assist with environmental monitoring and assessment of mining, hydro-electric, oil & gas, forestry, road construction, and other natural resource-related programs and projects.

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