Hivernant – Boreal Winter Guide & Survival Instructor Certification

The skill set needed to guide and teach in the boreal forest in bitter cold conditions is specialized and unique. The purpose of the Hivernant Certification is to verify a student has the skills and experience needed to pull off a self-planned, unsupported, multi-week wilderness snowshoe expedition.

Hivernant is a word the voyageurs used to describe a person who had gained enough knowledge and experience to spend the winter in the wilderness. The word Hivernant is french for winterer.

The associated field course for the Hivernant certification is our Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. Students seeking the Hivernant certification will keep extensive documentation of the experience, have benchmarks with regard to crafts and skills, complete a frozen 24 challenge, and demonstrate mastery of the skills taught.


Certification FAQ

How It Works

There is no extra tuition to enroll in the certification option for your field course. You simply let us know. If you decide to withdraw from the certification option, you can do so at any time. If you withdraw, we won’t put an emphasis on testing you with practical exams, and you can just take the course for personal enrichment.

Specific Curriculum & Requirements

When you register for a course you’ll receive all of the specific requirements for the certification. These will include some or all fo the following:

  • Logbook & Course Documentation
  • Workbooks
  • Benchmarks (Crafts, Skills, Meals, Number Of Repetitions, etc.)
  • Oral Exams
  • Practical Exams

No Social Promotion

Social Promotion is the practice of promoting a student to the next grade level, or granting a certificate, regardless of skill mastery in the belief that it will promote self-esteem. Regardless of how well we get along, what a great person you are, how much experience you have, or what you’ve done in your life up to this point, we do not socially promote. We have strict requirements and they must be met. Because we wouldn’t want to devalue the achievement of people who have completed the JMBS certifications in the past, we will not make exceptions on the requirements. Making exceptions cheapens the achievements of everyone involved.

Time Constraints

Can I finish the requirements for the Certification at home after the course? No. As this is a standards-based certification, completion at home raises many problems and questions. First, how do we verify that a skill meets the standard required? Second, being able to finish at home allows a person to not use their time wisely and still receive the certification at the end of the process. This is not something we want to encourage. All of the people who have completed the certifications in the past have done so during the course at the field school.

Two-Week Writing Period

While benchmarks and course work must be completed during the course, there is a 2-week writing period after a course where students can clean up, digitize, edit, etc., their written work. This means that while you cannot complete certification requirements after the course, you can, in the example of a Boreal Snowshoe Expedition where you kept a hand-written logbook and workbook, type this up. All documentation must be typed in order to be valid for certification.

Starting Early

While we do not allow anyone to extend the time to get the work done beyond a course, we encourage people to start early. Contact us for more details on this.

What JMBS Certifications Are Not

JMBS Certifications are acknowledgements that a student has reached a standard and breadth of proficiency. They are not a job placement service (click here to read about jobs in the bushcraft industry). They are also not a promise of work with the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School.
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JMBS Master Calendar
All scheduled programs.
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JMBS Sites
· Field School – Professional Training, Semester & Expedition Programs. Masardis, Maine.
· Classic Wilderness Guiding – Canoe, Snowshoe & Sea Kayak Trips
· Folk School – Lodge-Based & Weekend Programs. Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· JMB Web Portal – Guide To All Our Programs & Sites

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Typos, Etc.
Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device demonstrating prodigious artistic prowess.

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