At John Burroughs the first level biology course includes a four day field trip to the school's Drey Land Camp. This unique experience for high school students, studying ecology in a wilderness setting, came into being as a response to the ecology crisis of the late 1960's and early 1970's. At that time there appeared to be an acute need for the development of ecological awareness and for a basic attitudinal change toward resource utilization. We responded to the environmental concerns presented by media such as television, radio, books and magazine articles by developing what has come to be known as the Drey Land Ecology Study.
The Drey Land Study upgrades and reinforces the ecology unit in the first year biology course and replaces an interdisciplinary year-long second level course that, at that time, did not attract sufficient enrollment to reach the general school population. Now, field studies away from the school campus replace typical short term laboratory exercises in the ecology unit. The new field activities are good in an educational sense and the psychological atmosphere at the camp is totally different. Living and working in a wilderness environment drives home the point of man's relationship to the ecosystem with considerable strength.
We began developing our curriculum at the same time we built
the camp--1970-1971. We selected study areas, developed the field
investigations and prepared for a trial run. That 1971 trial run
saw three groups of 25 students spending two weekend days at the
camp. Based on that experience, we revised our investigations
and developed additional new investigations suitable for a four
day program. Now all Biology I students spend four days at the
camp which has operated continuously for 32 years.