Ontario Forestry Association

Ontario Forestry Association

May 30, 2011 08:00 ET

Southern Ontario High School Students Travel to Northwestern Ontario to Learn About Forest Management

55th Annual Dryden Conservation Camp

DRYDEN, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 30, 2011) - Fifteen high school students from southern Ontario high schools will be joining northwestern Ontario high school students for a three day course in forest conservation in Dryden from May 31 - June 2, 2011.

Dryden High School has the longest running conservation course in Canada. Started in 1957, the outdoor course introduces students to forest management and conservation. The course is presented by partners from academia, industry, non-profit organizations and government. Conservation Course is an opportunity for students to learn about forestry in northern Ontario, through a 3-day camp experience. Students have the chance to see forest management on Ontario crown land and meet those employed in the forestry and natural resources fields.

"Forest Ranger" Youth Reporters

While attending the Conservation Course, students will be given video cameras to document their experiences. The students will form their own opinions about forest management activities in our province based on what they see. The students will use video to tell other youth about forest management and lead them through an interactive classroom activity that will help teach the decision making process involved in managing forests. The lesson plan will be released to teachers across Ontario during National Forest Week, September 18-24, 2011.

"Support from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development Mines and Forestry (MNDMF) has made it possible for students from southern Ontario to participate in the Conservation Camp for the first time," says Carla Grant, executive director of the Ontario Forestry Association, the non-profit partner in this initiative. "MNDMF views this program as an opportunity for cultural exchange within our own province. Most Ontarians will never see our Boreal forests first hand or understand what it means to live and work in a forest dependant community," says Grant. "These students will be responsible for telling their story to other Ontario youth."

"It's an excellent way for future generations to gain an appreciation and understanding of their natural surroundings," says Bonny Skene, Domtar's regional public affairs manager and former Conservation Course participant (1983). "We are pleased to have an on-going role in facilitating and participating in this important program."

The southern Ontario schools participating in the program along with students from Dryden High School are North Dundas District High School (Cornwall), Bruce Peninsula District School (Owen Sound) and General Panet High School (Renfrew).

Ontario Forestry Association (OFA) is a non-profit, registered charity dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Ontario's forests, and to developing stewardship of forest ecosystems. Visit www.focusonforests.ca for more information.


In the mid 1950s a forward looking group of people in Dryden Ontario recognized a need to provide young people with background and education in the area of resource management and conservation. Leadership of the local paper mill along with representatives of the mill's Woodlands Department, the local Board of Education, Dryden High School, and the Department of Natural Resources combined their knowledge and resources to implement the Dryden High School Conservation Course in 1957.

Since 1957 The Dryden High School Conservation Course has been an annual event. Grade 10 Students at Dryden High School have been provided an opportunity to spend three intensive days in the field learning key aspects of resource conservation and management from resource management experts. The stated objective of this unique conservation course is "To broaden understanding of resource management and encourage appreciation of conservation concepts while enjoying three days in an outdoor setting". Hands-on and interactive approaches to learning are encouraged.

Key elements for conservation include air, water, soil, minerals and forests. Resource activities over the years have focused on water resources, minerals, mining, agriculture, hydro-electric generation, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, wildlife, and forestry. Specific elements of forestry include, harvesting and renewal, seedling production, inventory, soils, fire management and protection and a forest management planning exercise.

The program could not be possible over the years without the support from local industry and businesses in and around Dryden, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ontario Hydro, a number of Universities and Colleges, Forestry Canada, The Ontario Forestry Association as well as numerous independent volunteers who have willingly contributed to this program.

The intent of this program is not to make experts of the students involved, but to increase their awareness of resource use, and the challenges that are presented in resource management. Interactions between resource users and the impacts of competing resource use are explored.

While this program does not make experts, it is noteworthy that many of the students who have participated in the Dryden High School Conservation Course have gone on to pursue higher education and careers in the field of resource management. Alumni of the Dryden High School Conservation Course include professional foresters, biologists, ecologist, geologists, engineers, agronomists and many others who have pursued careers in resource management or related fields.

The support of the Ministry of Northern Development Mines and Forestry has allowed for southern Ontario students to participate in the Conservation Course for the first time in 2011.

Contact Information

  • Domtar
    Dianne Loewen
    Public Affairs
    Office: (807) 223-9184 or Mobile: (807) 221-9214

    Ontario Forestry Association
    Carla Grant
    Executive Director
    Office: (416) 493-4565 or Mobile: (416) 435-2349