COVID-19: Facemasks and physical distancing are mandatory at all campus locations. Students, please monitor email and Moodle for program updates. Enhanced Measures
Natural Resources Technology Program

Portage College will continue to monitor the pandemic situation closely and will make adjustments to program delivery depending on guidance from Alberta Health Services and the Ministry of Advanced Education.  

Land a great career in the great outdoors.

Are you interested in the environmental challenges facing society today? Are you worried about the loss of natural habitats? Are you interested in post-secondary education that spends less time in the classroom and more time in the field? If you think the outdoors are truly great and you are interested in making sure they stay that way, then the Natural Resources Technology program may be the one for you. Check out our Natural Resources Technology Booklet for more information.

To see yourself in our Natural Resources Technology program, watch our new program highlight video below.

Watch a video of our students taken during the 24-hour Winter Survival field training!

 Student Testimonial
Diploma graduates are eligible to apply for the Agrology Technologist in Training (ATT) designation through the Alberta Institute of Agrologists. This will lead students to a Registered Technologist in Agrology (RTAg) designation, which is mandatory to work within Alberta's agrology profession. Also, upon graduation, students are automatically certified by the North American Wildlife Technology Association (NAWTA) in wildlife techniques.

Practicum Dates
May 2, 2021 - June 24, 2022

Industry Certifications

  • Standard First Aid
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
  • Workplace Hazardous Information System (WHIMS)
  • Bear Awareness
  • Petroleum Safety Training
  • Wilderness Skills
  • Pesticide Applicator's License
  • All-Terrain Vehicle Operator
  • Chainsaw (WTA)
  • Ground Disturbance
  • Trailering and Load Securement
  • Electrofishing

*These certifications are valued at over $2800 

Visit Alberta Park Here and see the forest you could be working in.

Meet our Instructors


Career Potential

Graduates may enjoy careers in industries such as Environmental Consulting, Forestry, Oil & Gas, or working for Non-Profit Organizations, First Nations, or Municipal, Provincial, or Federal Governments, in opportunities such as: 

  • Soil Surveying/Sampling
  • Fish Surveys
  • Bird & Nest Surveys
  • Vegetation Surveys
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Block layout
  • Wildfire Firefighting/Monitoring
  • Replanting & Replant Surveys
  • GIS/GPS Technician
  • Pest Surveys
  • Various Forestry Careers
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Environmental Planning & Permitting
  • Ecosystem Mapping
  • Timber Damage Assessment
  • Phase I/II Environmental Site Assessments
  • Pollution/Spill Remediation
  • Reclamation
  • Pipeline Monitoring
  • Wetland Mapping & Evaluation
  • Rangeland/Riparian Health Assessment
  • Wildlife Surveys
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Stakeholder Consultation
  • Research Assistant
  • Traditional Land Use Assessment and Related Research
  • First Nations-led Research & Environmental Stewardship
  • Conservation/Fish & Wildlife/Environmental Officer
  • Public Land Management
  • Fish/Wildlife Technician

  Credentials: Diploma

Admission Requirements*

Alberta high school diploma with at least one course from each of the following:

  • ELA 30-1*, English 30, or 60% in ELA 30-2 or English 33
  • Biology 30*(recommended) or 60% in Biology 20, Chemistry 30*(recommended) or 60% in Chemistry 20, or Science 30
  • Math 30-1*, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Math 30, Applied Math 30 (60%) or Math 33 (60%)
  • NOTE: Those who do not meet the admission requirements listed above are encouraged to look into Open Studies


  • Diploma students will be accepted into the third year of the Bachelor of Applied Science: Environmental Management degree at Lakeland College. Students must complete Organic and Inorganic Chemistry in addition to the NRT diploma.
  • Diploma students will be accepted into the third year of the Bachelor of Applied Science: Ecosystem Management and Restoration stream at Lethbridge College. Students must complete an additional 6 credits in Chemistry and 3 credits in Water Resources.
  • Diploma students will be accepted into the third year of the Bachelor of Applied Science: Conservation Enforcement at Lethbridge College. Students must complete a Bridge year of six, three-credit courses in plants and law.
  • Diploma students will be accepted into the third year of the Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection at Vancouver Island University. Students must first complete a bridge semester of 6 natural resource law enforcement courses at Vancouver Island University.
  • Diploma students will be accepted at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus into the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science program on a course-by-course basis. Only courses with a letter grade greater than D+ will transfer. 
  • Diploma student will be accepted at the University of Alberta, into the ALES program of Environmental Conservation or Conservation Biology.
  • Diploma students with a GPA of 3.2 or higher qualify for acceptance to University of Prince Edward Island Wildlife program.

Program Start/End Dates
Year 1: August 26, 2021 to June 24, 2022 (Fall, Winter and Spring Terms)
Year 2: August 26, 2021 to April 29, 2022 (Fall and Winter Terms)

Lac La Biche Campus

Domestic Student Fees
Application Fee $53.50

Fall Term
Fee payment deadline: August 16, 2021

Tuition $2142.20
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $73.27
Recreation Fee $51.00
Course Package & Materials   $275.00
Total $2,658.17

Winter Term
Fee payment deadline: December 17, 2021

Tuition $2142.20
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $73.27
Recreation Fee $51.00
Total $2,383.17

Total tuition & mandatory fees for year:  $5,041.34

Part-time Fees
Tuition is calculated using “cost-per-credit” one credit is $145. Calculate the cost by multiplying the number of credits per course by $145.

Visit  Portage Bookstore for textbooks and supplies

Same fees apply for Year 1 and 2.

International Student Fees
Application Fee $160.00

Fall Term
Fee payment deadline: August 16, 2021

Tuition $6426.60
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $73.27
Recreation Fee $51.00
Course Package & Materials   $275.00
Total $6,942.57

Winter Term
Fee payment deadline: December 17, 2021

Tuition $6426.60
Student Association $116.70
Technology Fee $73.27
Recreation Fee $51.00
Total $6,667.57

Total tuition & mandatory fees for year: $13,610.14

Guaranteed yearly tuition for 2021-22 -Year 2 of program started 2020-21 not including mandatory fees: $12,687.20

Visit  Portage Bookstore for textbooks and supplies

Tuition Deposit (non-refundable for oversubscribed programs and international only)
Domestic Students - $100
International Students - $500

Need help funding your education? Check out our  funding options.

Other purchases may be necessary in order for students to complete their courses/program.

Open Studies just might be perfect for you!

Not sure which program is the best for you?

Open Studies gives students the unique opportunity to experience more than one program at a time and offers the flexibility of enrolling in individual courses rather than a complete program.

It's a great option for those looking to take general interest courses or those who don't quite meet the entrance requirements for a specific program.

Admission requirements vary by individual course, so students interested in this option must meet with a Student Advisor before enrolling.

For more information: Open Studies

The Open Studies option is available at any of our main campus locations.

Natural Resources Technology


    Course ID: NRES105


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course introduces the student to the communications model and the complexity of the communication process. Effective workplace writing strategies and techniques in memos, e-mails, letters, and lab reports will be covered including proper methods of sourcing. Graphics including: creating tables, building, labeling, and embedding graphs, tables, and pictures into reports will be practiced. Skills that will help seek employment including resume writing and fundamental presentation skills and the use of key features in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


    Course ID: NRES106


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    Various parent geological material, deposition modes, and soil horizons will be identified in mineral and organic soils. Soil forming processes and factors will also be covered. Field studies will include the Soil Orders of the Canadian Soil Classification System, geomorphology, parent material deposits, soil textures, and their relation to vegetation expression. Groundwater recharge, movement and discharge, and potential of contaminant movement in groundwater will be discussed. Using industry-standard sampling equipment, soil samples will be collected and analyzed in the field. Groundwater gradients will be determined through piezometers, installation of piezometers will be demonstrated.  Soil mapping, field report writing, electronic data collection, and handling will be performed. Infield collections, Chain of Custody Procedures, and QA/QC handling will be implemented.


    Course ID: NRES115


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    The conservation and management of fish resources is contingent on a sound understanding of fish ecology, including habitat requirements. These factors vary greatly on latitudinal and altitudinal gradients, as well as between lotic and lentic systems. Therefore, this course aims to provide the unique practical field experience and academic skills required for exciting and challenging careers in fish culture, habitat and stock assessment, fisheries enhancement, conservation, management, and research. Students will gain experience in fish habitat measurement, assessment, and monitoring. Techniques covered will include: passive and active sampling, extraction, preparation, and analysis of cartilaginous structures for age estimation, necropsy and health assessment techniques, stream assessment protocols, Species At Risk considerations, creel survey data collection and analysis, fish culture and stocking, and sport and commercial fishery regulations. Field research involving collection of fisheries field data used to complete scientific reports will also be a vital part of this course. Prerequisites: NRES 112


    Course ID: NRES107


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course investigates the importance and features of wetlands, lakes, streams, and riparian areas. We will learn and practice proper techniques for water testing, looking at physical and chemical properties, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and aquatic invertebrates. Students will also learn how to classify both lakes and streams, and discover the aquatic invasive animals and diseases that are of highest concern in Alberta. We will study the three wetland classification systems currently used in Alberta, and the Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool. Students will also practice assessing wetland and riparian area health, and learn strategies for improving it.


    Course ID: NRES108


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course will cover the common native trees, shrubs, forbs, graminoid species, mosses, and lichens of the boreal forest of Alberta, with an emphasis on learning plant family characteristics. The basics of plant structure, function, and terminology will also be studied.


    Course ID: NRES109


    Hours: 65

    Credits: 3

    This course starts with a review of math calculations and conversions commonly used in the natural resource science field, including weight and measures, converting values from Metric to Imperial, calculating areas, volumes, and estimating stream flow/discharge and stockpile volumes in the field. Students are introduced to basic calculations and data management using Microsoft Excel. Students also learn to work with forestry maps. The use of topographical and multipurpose resource maps is studied. Interpretation of locations, including habitat and geological features, using the Global Grid System, Universal Transverse Mercator System, and the Alberta Township System are covered. The course culminates with field navigation labs designed to provide students with hands-on experience using field measurement and navigation equipment to orienteer in Alberta’s boreal forest. Proficiency in compassing and traversing in the field at or beyond industry standard are required as part of this course. Prerequisites: 60% MATH 20


    Course ID: NRES110


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course focuses on the identification and control of weeds. Weed species covered include the common, noxious, and prohibited noxious weeds of Alberta. A selection of weed species will be grown in a greenhouse setting so that they can be observed throughout their life cycles. Various methods of weed prevention and control including mechanical, cultural, biological, and chemical methods are presented. Issues with weeds, such as the problems caused by them, legislative requirements, and herbicide resistance will be discussed. This course includes certification as a Pesticide Applicator Assistant, as well as in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG). Prerequisites: Strongly recommend NRES 108


    Course ID: NRES112


    Hours: 95

    Credits: 3

    This course covers the ecology and identification of birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians common to Alberta’s boreal forest. Identification by sight, as well as by sound for anurans and birds, is introduced. Field activities include fish capture and identification, identifying and documenting wildlife signs, remote camera wildlife surveys, and avian presence/absence and abundance surveys. The course also reviews the primary pieces of legislation that concern fish and wildlife in Alberta, including conservation organizations.


    Course ID: NRES113


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course will explore Forest Management objectives in Alberta, with emphasis on current insect and disease problems and forest fire suppression. Topics include forest inventories, road building, harvesting, timber salvage, quota holder's right to manage the forest, and the challenges with management of oil and gas dispositions of exploration and mining of subsurface minerals in an ecological and sustainable manner. A brief introduction to the history of the First Nations and Metis communities in the forest region, before and after the arrival of the Europeans, and their views and role in maintaining the forest ecology is viewed.


    Course ID: NRES114


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course provides the student with standard safety certificate and safety awareness that is expected in today’s worksites. Standard First Aid, Trailer Towing and Load Securement, H2S Alive, Bear Awareness, All Terrain Vehicle Operator, Ground Disturbance, Diversity Awareness, Petroleum Safety Training (PST), Wilderness skills will be covered Prerequisites: Must be a full-time NRT student


    Course ID: NRES111


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    The process and application of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are covered in this course including navigation, data collection, and data transfer using GPS software. In addition, Geographic Information System (GIS) software will be used to perform a range of GIS tasks including data management, data editing, map query, and map production. Aerial photo maps will be interpreted for navigation and field vegetation and terrain classification purposes. The use of aerial photos for planning purposes and field procedures are covered in this course. Prerequisites: Strongly recommend NRES 109


    Course ID: NRES120


    Hours: 120

    Credits: 3

    Apply what you learn in the classroom to a work environment. Work placements will be completed with natural resource industry partners where students will assist in day-to-day field operations and learn valuable hands-on skills needed to be a successful employee.


    Course ID: NRES203


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    The responsible conservation and management of wildlife resources is contingent on collecting unbiased, representative data using modern, ethical, scientific sampling techniques. Thus, this course is intended to introduce students to wildlife management focusing especially on techniques for monitoring, marking, observing, sampling, dissecting, identifying, and, generally, studying wild mammalian and avian populations. An emphasis will be placed on species indigenous to Alberta. Students will study the biology and anatomy of Alberta’s major vertebrate species, with emphasis given to mammals and birds. The skillset gained from this course applies to duties potentially carried out by wildlife research technicians in the private, non-government, and government sectors alike. Prerequisites: NRES 122 and NRES 155


    Course ID: NRES202


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    NRES 202 will provide information required on the process to complete an application for a new development or project. Environmental Assessments will be reviewed taking into consideration all aspects of the environment; including water, vegetation, wildlife, and historic resources. Pre-disturbance assessment and conservation, as well as the application process for land disposition in Alberta will be reviewed. This course covers Integrated Land Management (ILM) planning on Public Lands within Alberta. Instruction focuses on the history of land management in Alberta, strategic planning and cooperation of resourced based industries, reduction of human-caused footprint on public land, the Alberta Land-Use Framework, and provincial and local examples of ILM. In particular, an emphasis will be on standard forest management practices for sustainable forestry, integrated resource management, and ecosystem management. The Forest Act Regulations, forest ethics, and forest practice codes will be discussed. Prerequisites: Completion of first year NRT


    Course ID: NRES205


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course provides an introduction to petroleum land management and associated topics in Alberta. Brief introductions will be made in petroleum history and geology as well as roles of various government agencies, submission and reporting procedures, and acts and regulations that govern the petroleum industry in Alberta. Drilling waste management and resulting disposal methods of liquid and solid hazardous waste will be discussed. An introductory treatment of pollution, including abatement techniques, will be covered. Secondary containment at industrial facilities, and accidental release and containment procedures will be practiced. Aboriginal consultation and the use of traditional knowledge in the oil and gas sector will be discussed. Prerequisites: NRES 105 Communications


    Course ID: NRES210


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course focuses on the exploration and reclamation of sand and gravel pits, oil leases and access roads within the boreal forest. Application for mineral and surface rights, reclamation business plans will be covered. Online tools, ‘Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Forested Lands’ and ‘Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Cultivated Lands’ will be used to evaluate reclamation projects. There will be an emphasis on ecological reclamation processes and equipment cost calculators. Prerequisites: NRES 106, NRES 108, NRES 206, and NRES 110


    Course ID: NRES207


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course will provide the Natural Resources student with an introduction to legal concepts and how they apply to environmental practitioners, as well as a thorough look at Environmental Site Assessments (ESA’s). In the law-based component of this course, private, public, and international law, including both federal and provincial acts that govern the environmental aspects of industry operations and development will be examined. In the ESA component of this course, aspects for completing Phase I ESA such as collecting and compiling data, performing an interview and completing the physical site inspections will be learned and practiced. Skills on how to plan and supervise a Phase II ESA, including common contaminants and their migration patterns, sampling methodologies, and interpretation of laboratory results will be discussed, as well as introductory aspects of Phase III ESA’s. Prerequisites: Completion of first year NRT or BIOL 101, or BIOL 102, or CHEM 101


    Course ID: NRES206


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    Soil is considered the living skin of the earth and as a valuable resource, it is worthy of protection. All processes of erosion from siltation to mass movement will be studied. This course focuses on soil properties and processes that make them vulnerable to wind and water erosion. Understanding these processes help erosion control personal design and implement proper BMP's to prevent soil loss from construction sites. Establishing vegetation as quickly as possible is important for long-term soil stabilization. The use of site-specific vegetation and microclimates are also studied.


    Course ID: NRES208


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    Global issues is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the socio-environmental challenges and opportunities we face on various scales.  The course uses western science and Indigenous ways of knowing to examine a range of environmental issues.  Students will learn various theoretical and practical approaches to environmental management and planning issues.  Specific topics include renewable and non-renewable energy use, climate change, biodiversity and conservation, environmental politics, food and water security, environmental planning and management techniques, and urban development.  These topics will be delved into from a regional, national and global scale.


    Course ID: EASC101


    Hours: 84

    Credits: 3

    EASC101 introduces students to basic concepts of physical geology. Following an introduction to minerals as the basic building blocks of earth materials, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are examined. This is followed by a detailed look at the earth's internal structure and processes that occur within it. Students are acquainted with the theory of plate tectonics as a unifying concept in geology after which crustal tectonics and resulting deformation structures are explored. Earth surface processes are also examined including weathering, mass movement, surface water movement, glaciations, wind action, and desert processes. The final part of the course introduces students to the application of remote sensing and GIS in the earth sciences. PREREQUISITES: Completion of first-year NRT or 60% in ELA 30-1 and 60% in BIO 30 or 60% in CHEM 30


    Course ID: NRES204


    Hours: 80

    Credits: 3

    This course combines information from soils, vegetation, wetland, remote sensing, and other introductory courses to properly perform Ecosite and Range Plant Community type classification and mapping. We will also discover the characteristics of Alberta’s Natural Regions and Subregions, and learn how to detect and identify rare ecological communities. ArcMap will be used to perform a range of GPS/GIS tasks including data management, data editing, map query, map production, and geographic analyses. Prerequisites: NRES 105, NRES 111, and NRES 106


    Course ID: NRES233


    Hours: 45

    Credits: 3

    Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative evidence is integral to natural resource science and management. This course is an introduction to the statistical concepts used in the field, including both graphical and numerical analysis. The course will cover experimental design/data collection, presentation of scientific results, descriptive statistics, and parametric and non-parametric tests. Topics covered include uses and misuses of statistics, methods of sampling, probability theory and distributions, data collection, measures of average and variation, sampling distributions of means and proportions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, one-way and two-way analysis of variance, correlations, regression, and population estimation. Prerequisites: MATH 30 and NRES 105


    Course ID: BIOL208


    Hours: 84

    Credits: 3

    Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. This course provides an overview of the limiting factors that influence the living (biotic) components of our ecosystems. Interactions between these biotic components (e.g., competition and predation), population growth, life strategies, and the behaviours of individual organisms are also considered. This course provides general concepts that can stand alone or serve as preparation for advanced ecology courses. Labs complement lecture concepts and include the gathering, analysis, and interpretation of data from ecological experiments and field studies. Prerequisites: Completion of first year NRT or 60% in ELA 30-1 and BIOL 101 or BIOL 102

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We are located on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaties 6 and 8, which are also homelands to Métis people.
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