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​​​​​​​​SHSM Programs

Certi​fica​tion with NVCA

Stream Assessment SHSM Program.JPG

NVCA offers Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Programming certificate programs for students interested​ in environmental sciences and other related professions. Our hands-on learning program is designed give students real-world experiences and skills.

NVCA’s environmental educators draw on their expertise and the wealth of talented scientist on-staff to offer unique programming for students in the Environmental Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) sector.

Through our programs, students benefit from:

  • Hands-on and experiential learning
  • Practical evaluations
  • Receiving certification upon successful completion 

Stream health assessments, habitat restoration and wilderness skills such as canoeing, map reading and shelter building are just some of the SHSM programs offered. A full list of programs is available below.

Each year, we continue to add new programs, so if you don't see what you are looking for, contact our education staff to discuss your ideas.

Book your Program

To plan your SHSM certification program, contact NVCA’s environmental education team at 705-424-1479 ext. 280 or outdoored@nvca.on.ca

​ICE Tra​​​ining

NVCA also offers Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) training.

Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship are three valuable skills for students to gain to help them tackle real-world challenges.

NVCA's ICE training provides students with the opportunity learn directly from an NVCA expert.

Students are first presented with a real-world problem. Then they get together in groups to brainstorm, create ideas, and develop a plan to solve the issue at hand. The last step, they present their plan to the NVCA expert. The expert will evaluate their plans and will assess if it is applicable to their work, offering valuable feedback.

All 19 SHSM sector certifications include ICE training. While our focus is on environmental SHSM, we can tailor our ICE training to almost any sector, including agriculture, business, arts & culture, non-profit, hospitality & tourism and more. 


​SHSM Certification Programs

Introduction to Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

  • ​Students learn use GPS to navigate. They learn the basics of navigation and are introduced to UTM coordinates.
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $50
  • Location: Tiffin Centre for Conservation

​Species Ide​ntification—Tree
Available upon special request

  • Students learn about the structure and parts of trees and how to identify a tree through the various parts, culminating with a Orienteering Tree ID. course. 
  • Length: 3 hours
  • Cost per Student: $30
  • Location: Tiffin Centre for Conservation

Habitat Restoration (2 part program)
​Part one: 

  • Principles of reforestation and streamside habitat restoration will be explained through presentation and experienced through hands-on stream modelling to witness cause and effect on water quality downstream.
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Cost per Student: $25 
  • Location: Your classroom; outreach mileage fee applies

Part two:

  • Completion of part one puts your class on the list to participate in an active restoration project with NVCA Stewardship.
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: Free
  • Location: TBD, bussing fees apply

Knot Techniques
Available upon special request

  • Students will learn 8 different knots and be assessed on proficiency within a practical setting
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $50
  • Location: Tiffin Centre for Conservation

Introduction to Map & Compass Use

  • Students will learn to navigate using topographic maps and bearings
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $50
  • Location: Tiffin Centre for Conservation

Paddling Techniques
Available upon special​ request

  • Students spend half the program time learning water safety and canoe rescues. The second half of the day is spent mastering canoe handling skills on Papa Bear Pond at the Tiffin Centre.
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $70 (includes certification through ORCKA)
  • Location: Local pool, Tiffin Centre for Conservation, or location TBD

​Stream Assessment Protocol (2 part program)
Part one:

  • Principles and practices of stream assessment.
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Cost per Student: $25
  • Location: Your classroom; outreach mileage fee applies.
Part two:
  • Students will investigate a local stream and assess its health utilizing standardized methodologies from the Ontario Streams Assessment Protocol (OSAP)
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $50
  • Location: Hands-on stream assessment at location TBD.

Bear Creek Nov. 5 2015 034 Low Ropes.JPG ​Leadership Skills
This certification is valid for all sectors of the SHSM program.

​To lead effectively is a life skill needed in many circumstances through one’s career. Students will be run through many different tasks to allow different types of leaders to shine.

  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $50
  • Location: Tiffin Centre for Conservation

​Wilderness Survival
This certification is valid for Environmental, Non-Profit, Hospitality & Tourism, and Justice SHSMs.​​

  • Students will gain experience in constructing emergency shelters and fire building. 
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Cost per Student: $50
  • Location: Tiffin Centre for Conservation​