Leadership Programs

Residency Program
Accelerator Program

Building on a history of collaborative parks systems leadership training that goes back to the 1960s, the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) and the Canadian Parks, Protected, and Conserved Areas Leadership Collective (CPCCL) offer a suite of engaging online programs and services to support effective and equitable leadership. 

CPPCL online and in-person collaborative programs explore specific issues facing parks and protected areas and applying them to real-world challenges with approaches and tools grounded in complexity, systems thinking, design thinking, and sustainability. Our programs are collaborative, with significant time spent in small group projects and activities designed to build social capital that will last long after the cohort wraps up. Programs are also intergenerational, with opportunities to engage with young professionals from a wide range of backgrounds and to bring back experienced alumni as panelists and advisors. Finally, our programs are experiential, with activities designed to help you reconnect to the the natural world and your landscape–both independently and in face-to-face residencies.

Suite of Programs


Transformative leadership
Shared issues
Team Learning
Cohort based

  • 20 Participants
  • 7 Months
  • 100 Hours


Design thinking
Individual problem
Peer feedback
Expert panel

  • 10 Participants
  • 6 Months
  • 30 Hours


Core concepts
Self directed
Twelve hours

Programs generate content for services

Parks & Protected Areas Research Network

Shared Resources

Collaboration Tools

Services inform programs

Knowledge Framework

All CPCCL programs explore the following core leadership themes, while also focusing on sub-themes in activities and field experiences.

Core Program Themes

CPCCL is honoured to collaborate with organizations such as IISAAK OLAM Foundation, IPCA Innovation Centre, the Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership, and others to co-facilitate sessions and programs that work toward two-eyed seeing and Reconciliation.

The Program builds skills in systems thinking to help park leaders address personal and organizational change management, knowledge mobilization (science, social science, and interdisciplinary inquiry), and managing unknowns by understanding your purpose.

Programs tackle the sustainability of parks and protected areas by considering the culture, resources, and mandate of the organizations responsible for them. A major focus of recent residencies has also been tools to support the mental health of conservation professionals.

Parks can succeed or fail based on the ability of leaders to facilitate transparent and effective dialogue. Activities and tasks throughout the Park Leaders Development program help participants write and speak persuasively with ethics, logic, and emotion.

While specific cohorts will dive deep into inclusion and accessibility, all programs are designed to incorporate diverse voices that demonstrate the importance of inclusion and empowerment in conservation and (re)connecting people to nature.

The CPCCL Park Leaders Development Program moves to different regions in order to explore different parks, heritage, and landscapes. Each participant is required to share relevant challenges that highlight their role in conservation and/or park management.

Inspired by the Parks for All Action Plan for Canada’s Parks Community, the Park Leaders Development Program celebrates “places reserved for conserving and experiencing Nature, with varying objectives but important complementary goals.”

Sub Program Themes

How can Park Leaders ensure parks and protected areas adapt to maintain relevance and effectiveness in the Anthropocene?

Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Conservation and Connectivity
Climate Change Adaptation

How can Park Leaders articulate the value of parks and protected areas and improve their financial sustainability without compromising environmental and social integrity?

Understanding and Articulating the Value of Parks
Ecological Economics
Responding to Changing Resources and Priorities

How can Park Leaders amplify the efforts of communities and work equitably with partners without losing sight of their conservation mandate?

Indigenous, Community, & Municipal Relationships
Commercial Partnerships
Non-profit Partnerships and Social Enterprise

How can Park Leaders remove barriers and promote inclusion so parks and protected areas reflect Canada’s social diversity?

Accessibility and Barriers to Diversity
Women in Conservation Leadership
Responding to Changing Resources and Priorities

How can Park Leaders create the conditions to reconnect people within nature-and as nature– through and beyond parks?

Broadening the Park Narrative
Customer Service & Visitor Experience
Education & Interpretation
Volunteer Management & Citizen Science


Transformational Leadership through Transformative Learning

From capstone projects, communities of practice, information sharing and training inventories, to providing opportunities to connect with colleagues across regions and jurisdictions, CPCCL programs are designed through a lens of transformative change.

We are committed to facilitating:

critical reflection
holistic orientation
authentic relationships

Our learning experiences are:

Nature based
Evidence based
Project based
Team based

And incorporate techniques of:

Blended delivery
Intergenerational exchange
Intercultural collaboration
Flexible engagement


Mezirow, J., & Taylor, E. W. (2009). Transformative learning in practice: Insights from community, workplace, and higher education. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. San Francisco.