Natural History & Ecology
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On demand June through August.

Group Size
Skill Level
beginner to intermediate

Natural History & Ecology

Savour your time in the mountains, understand the stories behind the beauty....

For budding naturalists or guides interested in upgrading skills, we offer custom programs in nature interpretation for hikers interesting in understanding the ecology. You will learn the unique stories behind the biology and ecology linking plant to animal and elevation to critter.

This two-day course is experiential, course content will vary based on season and hike location. The program focuses on the plant, animal and fungi kingdoms; students will begin to recognize animal sign and stories about their interaction in the environment.

Learn about the unique adaptation strategies of various ecosystems, the tough plants and animals that exist in the alpine could definitely teach us a trick or two. Discover the amazing relationships and evolutionary stories that link a bird to a tree, fungi to plant, trees and disturbance, or insect to flower.

The course is somewhat flexible and will vary depending on participant needs, weather and hike location.

Below is a sample itinerary for a two day program.

Day 1

  • 8am Welcome, introduction, goals & agenda, waiver.
  • Ecosystem and local natural history
  • Gear check & route afternoon hike
  • 3-4 hr afternoon hike practice skills
  • forest ecology, plant identification, animal sign
  • debrief

Day 2

  • 8am predetermined location or trail head
  • 5-7 hour hike/exploring on trail
  • alpine ecology, rock identification, plant & animal connections
  • course closure in field

Field days offer beginner to intermediate trails and terrain. Students are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability. Please contact us to discuss your background and what course would suit you best.

Day hikes vary depending on weather, conditions and student fitness. Trailhead within .5-1.25 hour from Nelson.

Kootenay weather can vary drastically.  In summer you expect temperatures to be from 8 C to 28C in the day while overnight temperature can drop dramatically in the high alpine, even below zero.  Visibility could be poor or whiteout conditions when raining heavily or snowing or clear on bluebird days.  Ensure you are dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind, precipitation can change within the day.

  • Pre-course planning support
  • Fully certified ACMG hiking, alpine Guide or mountain Guide services
  • local knowledge experience in the area
  • Alternative plan based on current conditions
  • maps
  • Park permits and Liability Insurance
  • Emergency response plan
  • Group safety equipment

Services NOT included:

  • 5% gst tax
  • personal clothing,  hiking boots *see equipment list for more details
  • personal lunch & snacks
  • travel to meeting location and accommodation prior to field portion trip
  • gratuities
  • trip interruption, cancellation insurance or medical insurance
  • additional costs incurred if changes made to itinerary due to weather

How experienced do I need to be?

On this natural history program you will learn as based on your goals and interest.  For field portions, good physical fitness will contribute to a comfortable learning experience.

Is it safe?

On all hike programs, we provide you with fully certified IFMGA / ACMG Mountain, alpine and hiking guides. This gives you the highest safety standards in the industry. While it is impossible to eliminate all the hazards, our guides will maximize your experience and greatly minimize the risks involved.

What course materials do I need?

Ensure you have a note pad/camera and all personal equipment for day trip; see Day Hiking Equipment List

Where can I rent/buy climbing & outdoor equipment?

Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.

Rivers Oceans and Mountains 354-2056
Valhalla Pure Outfitters 354-1006

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