A number of organizations and like-minded people are gathering to launch a new endeavor that will bring students of the Grey and Bruce area and parts of Wellington and Huron counties, together to learn, appreciate and celebrate our local forest heritage. This idea is based on the success and experience gained from the Grey Bruce Children’s Water Festival; a similar idea but with our forest resources as the main focus for this new festival.
The Bruce Grey Forest Festival will involve many different local environmental groups and associations, ministries, stewardship councils, conservation authorities, local industry and volunteers from the community as well as the appropriate school boards. We will be presenting curriculum based, hands-on, interactive and educational learning opportunities for grade 7 and 8 students from those schools to whom we traditionally provide programs (i.e. Bruce and Grey counties and parts of Wellington and Huron counties). This will be accomplished through over 25 different activity centres designed to allow students to connect and relate to their local natural environment while motivating behavioural changes and encouraging participants to become good local land stewards. This festival will take place in the forest.
Only one other forest festival of this kind exists in Ontario – in October 2008, the Carolinian Forest Festival was held at Jaffa Environmental Education Centre and Springwater Conservation Area near St. Thomas Ontario. Themes there included Forest Resources, Forest Ecosystems and Interactions, Climate Change, Biodiversity and Species at Risk, Stewardship and Conservation. The three day event was able to accommodate 30 classes but was overwhelmed when initial invitations revealed more than 90 interested classes. Evaluation and summaries indicate the Festival was well received and was successful in engaging participants’ interest in conserving our forest resources. It was the hope of the organizers of that festival that other Forest Festivals start up throughout the Province.
The Bruce Grey Forest Festival will take place at Allan Park Management Unit October 19, 20 & 21, 2010. Such an undertaking will require planning and the gathering of resources; human, financial and material. A steering committee at arm’s length from C. A.’s and other organizations has been organized to ensure access to as many funding opportunities as possible. Watch your local newspapers for more information and find out how you can become involved in educating our future resource stewards.