Dr. André François Bourbeau is a professor at the University of Quebec, Chicoutimi campus, where he teaches outdoor pursuits in the adventure tourism bachelor's degree program. For 15 years at the university he has been teaching courses such as winter camping, whitewater canoeing, wilderness survival, outdoor leadership, environmental awareness, philosophy of outdoor education and similar courses.
His primary field of research revolves around primitive wilderness survival. His doctoral thesis, completed in 1984, was done on how to write clear instructions for primitive wilderness survival techniques.
Bourbeau has conducted two major primitive survival trips. The first was a 31 day experiment in 1984. He was dropped off by helicopter on the 50th parallel without food, without fire, without tools, without shelter - just the light clothes on his back. The details of that trip can be found in the book he wrote about the experience, "Surviethon au Gré de la Nature." In 1986 this feat was recognized as a Guiness world record for the longest voluntary wilderness survival without gear.
Four years later, Bourbeau embarked on a 40 day reconstruction of a trip along the fur trade route used by traders in the late 1830s. All the materials used were authentic reproductions of the period's gear, including real birchbark canoes and even handsewn underwear. This trip is documented in a film by KEG productions of Toronto, "Man of the Wilderness," which has been translated into numerous languages and has been shown on television all around the world. At the Houston International Film Festival it won a Bronze medal.
Bourbeau received his Master's in Outdoor Education and his Doctorate in Survival Education from the University of Northern Colorado.
Bourbeau says that his "main interests are in developing wilderness survival techniques for someone lost or downed in the boreal type forest. All ideas I find from other parts of the world I try to adapt to materials found here." Despite his focus on primitive living, he notes that he "loves hamburgers and french fries, but I hate ketchup."
Bourbeau is also the founder and list manager of the Primitive Skills Group mailing list. He is also a pilot, musician and runs his own dog sled team.
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