Vegetation and Wetlands Monitoring (VWM)


The Vegetation and Wetlands Monitoring (VWM) program is an introductory vegetation field skills training course. The 80-hour VWM program is delivered over two, week-long modules. The program focuses on mastery of transferable vegetative field skills such as:

  • Introductory native plant and invasive species identification,

  • Navigation to remote sites,

  • Plot location and set-up, and

  • Vegetation data collection using standardized tools and forms.

These technical skills are gained within the context of a comprehensive overview of the stages of revegetation associated with the reclamation program of current or recent natural resource project in the program region.

From pre-disturbance (baseline data collection, plant inventories, rare plant surveys), to operations (rare plant monitoring, wetland monitoring, compliance monitoring), to post-disturbance (planning and implementation of long-term vegetation monitoring), students will complete the course with a solid understanding of the revegetation commitments associated with natural resource projects. This will augment and enrich the technical field skills that they will master and support meaningful participation of individuals and communities in revegetation programs associated with reclamation in their region.

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once - come back anytime.

The VWM program is delivered as a scheduled course delivery or as a contract to organizations and groups.



VWM graduates are qualified to assist vegetation ecologists, reclamation practitioners, foresters, ethnobotanists, environmental inspectors, and other vegetation professionals in the field with vegetation related field services including monitoring and compliance.

VWM graduates will gain fundamental and transferable field skills including: navigation to sites, plot location and set-up, and standardized plant and plant community data collection. In addition to pre-disturbance, operations, and post-disturbance surveys and monitoring, these skills can be applied in a variety of field scenarios including, but not limited to:

  • Vegetation inventories,

  • Rangeland health assessments,

  • Ecosite phase mapping,

  • VRI and AVI surveys,

  • TEM mapping,

  • Invasive species surveys,

  • Rare plant surveys, and

  • Traditional land use and occupancy studies.

Course format:

Each five-day module is delivered weekdays, Monday to Friday, typically 8:30am to 4:30pm. The VWM delivery season will vary by region, as the program requires suitable field conditions to assess vegetation.

The course is split between indoor and outdoor learning with a focus on engaging, hands-on, interactive activities both indoors and out. The VWM program can be delivered as one two-week training program, delivered Monday to Friday over two consecutive weeks, or, independently as one of two five-day, weeklong courses.

Course Customization:

This course can be customized for an organization and/or community based on their needs. 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 individuals or communities who want to assist in assessing and monitoring all components of the revegetation aspects of reclamation projects from pre-disturbance to operations to post-disturbance monitoring.

Field technicians and environmental monitors; individuals at any stage of their educational journey toward becoming a vegetation professional; individuals committed to lifelong learning; and land managers who wish to obtain training in on-the-ground vegetation technical skills will all benefit from this course.


There are no formal prerequisites.

Personal Equipment Requirements:

Courses run rain or shine and are mainly field-based. Students are required to come prepared to work and learn outside all day in all weather conditions. Proper clothing layers, rubber boots, lunch and snacks, water, field backpack, local vegetation field guides, write-in-the-rain notebook or clipboard and paper, writing utensils, mosquito net, sunscreen, bug repellent, toilet paper, personal safety equipment, rain pants and rain jacket are recommended.

For further information, or for further assistance, please contact NRTG.  

Course Fees:

Course fees will vary by course delivery location.  For further information, please contact us

How do I Attend?

The VWM Certificate program is delivered on contract to community and/or Aboriginal groups. The VWM program is delivered directly in communities. 

If you would like to arrange for an ‘in-house’ or contract delivery of this course, please contact us for further information and 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 (most NRTG courses have minimum enrollments of 10 participants)

  4. Coordinate course participant equipment, classroom facility, and contractual agreement with NRTG.

Note: see Course Customization above for other options to bring this training to your organization and/or community. 

Instructor Profile:

Nanette Richards, P.Biol., RPBio.

Nanette is a registered professional biologist, educator and mentor, and owner of Silverberry. With 21 years experience as a practicing biologist in western Canada, Ms Richards has a passion for sharing her knowledge and upholding a deep personal and professional commitment to responsible and realistic land stewardship.  

Nanette is most happy practising her craft outside, as a field ecologist, collecting vegetation data and mentoring young biologists in the field. Her areas of expertise include vegetation ecology, particularly terrestrial and wetland community classification in western Canada.  Her focus is usually on vegetation identification, as well as being conversant in rare plant surveys, vegetation monitoring and inventory work. 

Ms. Richards has extensive experience working on a wide variety of research and development projects in Alberta and BC for industry, government, First Nations, private land owners, university researchers, and environmental consultants. This varied and comprehensive background has provided her with a unique set of skills and perspectives, which she brings to the classroom and shares with students. 

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