About BWI

Quality Outdoor Education Since 1994 “Vera Doctrina Avium”

Boreal Wilderness Institute's History

The Boreal Wilderness Institute (BWI) is a World Class Outdoor Education Institute that since its founding by Bruce Zawalsky & John Caldwell in September of 1994 has taught Professional Instructor-Led Field Safety Training in Wilderness Survival, Navigation, Wildlife & Bear Awareness. We regularly offer a variety of Courses and Seminars and are always willing to travel. Regularly teaching and consulting in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as Manitoba, Ontario, the Maritimes and Northern Canada.

BWI offers world class Modern Wilderness Survival and Wilderness Navigation training. We also provide Wildlife Awareness, survival consulting, wilderness skill building programs, custom corporate and group training programs, along with our Wilderness Certification Programme. We continue to be a resource in the field of outdoor education.

We have provided expert instruction to dozens of organizations included; Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Research Council, Arcadis, AREVA Resources, ATCO, Aurora College, Canadian Coast Guard, Canada Publics Works, Environment Canada, Golder Associates, ITV America, NAIT, NOAA (US Government), Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Saskatchewan Environment, SaskPower, SAR Alberta, SARDAA, TELUS and many other groups and corporations.

Bruce Zawalsky CD, Chief Instructor

“Don't Make the Decision to Survive Too Late”

Bruce Zawalsky CD, Chief Instructor of BWIBruce Zawalsky is an expert at Teaching Professional Instructor-Led Field Safety Training in Wilderness Survival, Navigation, and Wildlife & Bear Awareness. He is the author of Bestselling Survival Book Canadian Wilderness Survival, a 450 Page Full-Colour Guide to Modern Wilderness Survival Techniques in Canada. He has over 29 Years of Experience Working as a Professional Wilderness Survival Instructor plus fifteen years of serious travelling in the Canadian Wilderness before founding BWI. He has a practical hands-on Philosophy on the teaching of Modern Wilderness Survival. His Podcast, the Canadian Outdoor Survival Podcast is available Directly or through iTunes.

“In the World of Survival, you cannot Cheat by Carrying It; Nor is Losing an Option.”

Bruce Zawalsky working as a Survival Consultant on a small ocean boat on the Atlantic CoastBruce guided his first Backpacking Group in the 5th Canadian Rocky Mountains in 1981 for Scouts Canada as a Hike Master at the Canadian Jamboree in Kananaskis Alberta. He developed his skills in leading groups and team building at the University of Alberta, Augustana University College, PADI College, the Nordic Ski Institute. He has served in the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, a Canadian Reserve Army Light Infantry Regiment for over 40 years. His military experience has included working on the east, west and northern coasts of Canada and Northern Norway.

He is a Lifelong Outdoor Enthusiast, completing The Life of a River Expedition, a 90 day 3600km Canoe Expedition, Crossing 4 Provinces as the highlight of his Outdoor Education training at the University of Alberta. Over the last 45 years, Bruce has canoed, skied, snowshoed and hiked 1000's of Kilometers of the Canadian Wilderness.

“The Critical Difference Between a Cold Wet Group who Sets-up Camp and a Group that Decides to Push-on, is the Former have already Made the Decision to Survive, and the Latter is Heading into a Potentially Critical Survival Situation”

Bruce Zawalsky working as a Survival Consultant in Taiga Shield of Newfoundland and LabradorBruce studied and was mentored under the late Mors Kochanski and developed his teaching skills through years of instruction and practice. His vast experience allows him to pass on his great wealth of knowledge of modern wilderness survival, wilderness navigation and wilderness travel. Bruce has worked as a Safety and Survival Consultant for industry, film, TV and other Media. He worked as a Survival Consultant on Alone: Frozen on the rugged coastal Labrador and on Alone Season 10 in northern Saskatchewan & Alone Season 11 north of the Arctic Circle. Bruce is BWI's a Custom Training Specialist.

He is an authority on wilderness survival, navigation, wildlife and bear awareness and wilderness travel by canoe or foot. His expertise will ensure you receive the best outdoor education training or survival consulting available in Canada. Why not train with Bruce Zawalsky, Canada's only active Survival Expert & Best Selling Author?

James Hawley, Instructor

"Survival is Simply the Art of Being Prepared to Live Well Everywhere You Plan to Go"
James Hawley, Instructor at BWI

James is an individual who never loses his Smile, even in the Worst Conditions. He has been a Soldier, EMT, Wilderness & Wildland Firefighter, First Aid Instructor and a Registered Nurse. He has emersed himself the survival environment by living and working in both the montane and boreal forests and has a depth of knowledge about its varied trees species few can surpass. He has studied Temperate Inland Rainforest & Jungle Survival, Extreme Cold Weather Travel, Emergency Water Purification and Emergency Preparedness. James always shows great drive and determination along with a truly Professional Outlook on Safe Wilderness Travel."