The ecology study at Drey Land is concerned with the development of positive environmental attitudes and ethics through the study of ecology in a wilderness setting. Our program is short and intensive. We remove students from the artificial crutches of civilization and immerse them in a wilderness environment at the Drey Land Camp. While there, everyone, including students, counselors and faculty, strives to live an ecologically sound life while at the same time acquiring a knowledge of the functioning of natural stream and forest ecosystems.
A lot of fundamental science is taught at the camp. This, we believe, fosters future behavior based on knowledge rather than pure emotion. It is our desire to start the building of ecologically literate citizens. Furthermore, each stream and forest investigation serves as an exceptional vehicle for reviewing, summarizing and discovering biological relationships. The camp experience of living in harmony with nature while conducting a study of nature seems to pull many biological concepts together.
Positive attitudes, values and appreciations grow out of the camp experience of caring for the environment while it is studied. Faculty and counselor staff members set the example desired and the students are expected to follow suit. Respect for life is always observed and stressed. Organisms collected are, after study, returned to the stream or forest unharmed. Plant collections are held minimal by design. Caring for life is practiced via habitat improvement projects. Students, over time, have constructed and erected squirrel den boxes, wood duck boxes, blue bird houses and piled up stacks of brush for rabbits in an effort to increase the population of all of these animals.
Respect for the environment is part of the life style of the camp as the camp itself is simple and in harmony with the surroundings. Energy use is minimal with waste treated in a sewage lagoon and never released. Water is obtained by well from a 500 foot deep aquifer. Non-biodegradable and most biodegradable waste is hauled from the site to collection centers. Study areas are rotated to avoid damage through overuse. Our emphasis is on simplicity, conservation, and adjustment to the environment. Everyone lives by the rule: "Do Not Disturb." Students also use the out-of-doors for all their recreation while at the camp. The float trip, cookout, games and short hikes all convey the message that leisure activities need not be destructive of the environment.
The camp's primitive nature makes human adaptations necessary. Students are removed from passive amusements such as television and stereos. Entertainment comes from companionship and socializing. Junk foods are left at home. Students survive and discover much of civilizations's comforts are somewhat unnecessary. While at the camp, they also observe first hand a relatively surprising idea, the non-use of land; the concept of the preservation of natural ecosystems. Throughout their entire lives, students have been exposed to land development, new subdivisions, shopping centers and industries. At camp, it is different. Many students even come away with the idea that it would be good to save a few undeveloped corners of the world.
Ecology is one of the most relevant studies and topics today;
we see the program as being on target both locally and nationally.
Our students, tomorrow's leaders and land owners, need an ecological
conscience. The development of this conscience, we believe, is
at least partially attainable through the Drey Land Ecology Study
experience. By personally studying a small part of our unchanged
world, the student develops an awareness that he is also part
of the living world and is governed by the same natural laws as
other life. Through this realization will come the growth necessary
for becoming a responsible, caring citizen.