Become an Ecotour Guide

Want to turn your passion for paddling Virginia’s rural coastal waterways into a paycheck? Consider training to become an official – and certified – Virginia Ecotour Guide.

Virginia Certified Ecotour Guide Course 2024 Now Available

Register Here


Why now?

Tourism is a major driver in Virginia’s economy and ecotourism is especially important in rural coastal Virginia as it connects people to the very natural resources we strive striving to protect, instilling a strong will to take care of these life-sustaining resources.

Virginia offers an eight-week, “live” online class to provide students the certification credentials they need to lead their own ecotours. The course focuses on various aspects of ecotourism, including ecosystem science, customer service, business marketing, interpretation skills, culture and natural history.

Guest speaker presentations are incorporated into the course and active discussion is encouraged and required. Interpretive materials and resources for the course are provided.

In order to qualify for an ecotourism certification, a CPR & First Aid Certification is required and can be obtained at the student’s convenience. The guide certification lasts for three years, after which time the guide must re-certify.

The Virginia Water Trails and Coastal Virginia Ecotourism Alliance are pleased to express our gratitude for all of our guest speakers who contribute their time, energy, and knowledge to the Virginia Certified Ecotour Guide course; whether it’s been one year or over a multitude of years, we greatly appreciate your contribution and support of the course!

From all of us to all of you – Thank you for being such a large part of the course & helping to make it a success!

Name & Agency/Entity Contact
Richard Ayers, DCR richard.ayers@dcr.virginia.gov
Laura Messer, VTC lmesser@virginia.org
Robert Forloney, Program Developer & Cultural Institution Consultant robert.forloney@gmail.com
Dot Field, DCR Retired
Shannon Alexander, DCR shannon.alexander@dcr.virginia.gov
Alex Wilke, TNC awilke@tnc.org
Christen Miller, DCR christen.miller@dcr.virginia.gov
Sherri Smith, VOT& Lander Creative sherri@landercreative.com
Bowdoin “Bo” Lusk, TNC blusk@tnc.org
Stephanie Heinatz, Consociate Media stephanie@consociatemedia.com
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