Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre, 06 Aug 2019 5:38:32 -0400en-us<![CDATA[Education]]>, 06 Aug 2019 5:38:32 -0400Registration Steps:

Programme chart
Programme descriptions
Cancellation policy
Registration form

<![CDATA[Program Chart]]>, 06 Aug 2019 5:24:38 -0400


Fall (Sept-Nov)

Winter (Dec- Feb)

Spring (March-April)

Summer (May-June)

Animal Antics/Plants & Soils

Winter Fun Day

(Includes: snowshoe /games/animal tracking)

It’s a Bug’s Life/Bird Investigators

It’s a Bug’s Life/A Plant & Me

A Plant & Me/Animal Antics


Fall (Sept-Nov)

Winter (Dec- Feb)

Spring (March-April)

Summer (May-June)

Navigation 101/Biodiversity & Invasive Species Hike

Maple Syrup

Animal Tracking/Team building  

Geocaching/Guided Hike

Wilderness Survival (optional fire making & quinzhee building)/Snowshoe or Hike

Wetland Wonders/Team building

Indigenous Living Program/Snowshoe or Hike

Climate Change: grade 6


Fall (Sept-Nov)

Winter (Dec- Feb)

Spring (March-April)

Summer (May-June)

Team Building/Navigation 101

Team Building/Navigation 101

Climate Change

Geocaching/Guided Hike

Wilderness Survival (fires optional, quinzhee building if snow)/snowshoe or guided hike

Biodiversity & Invasive Species Hike/Team Building

Biodiversity & Invasive Species Hike/Team Building

Indigenous Living Program/Snowshoe or guided hike

Team Building/Navigation 101

Geocaching/Guided Hike


Fall (Sept-Nov)

Winter (Dec- Feb)

Spring (March-April)

Summer (May-June)

Leadership/Guided Hike

Wilderness Survival/Navigation 101

Leadership/Navigation 101

Snake River Studies/Navigation 101

GPS Greencheck

Team Building/Wilderness Survival

Forestry Management 

Forestry Management 

GPS Greencheck

GPS Greencheck

<![CDATA[Cancellation Policy]]>, 06 Aug 2019 5:04:29 -0400Please read through our cancellation policy BEFORE submitting your booking request.

Shaw Woods is an outdoor education centre and our programmes run four seasons a year in all weather conditions. Please refer to the appropriate clothing guide and general information that is attached to your registration form.

Once your booking request has been submitted and confirmed by our staff, your date, programmes chosen and student numbers will be reserved for your group(s) or class. Our booking calendar will now state “booked”.

Due to staffing requirements and interest by other schools, we require a MINIMUM of two weeks notice to accommodate any change in date or student numbers. CHANGES made after this period will result in your Board’s allotted student days to be debited accordingly.

Specialized programme options (GPS Green check, Forestry Management) that include outside, or specialized Human Resources and/or course material, require a MINIMUM of FOUR WEEKS notice for change of date or student numbers. Failure to give minimum notice will result in your Board’s allotted student days to be debited accordingly.

The only exceptions to this policy are: last minute bus cancellations or extreme weather conditions as mutually agreed upon between the school principal and Shaw Woods.

If changes are requested in a timely manner, or are the result of either bus cancellations or extreme weather conditions, our Office Administrator will gladly rebook your day.

<![CDATA[Home]]>, 06 Aug 2019 4:41:44 -0400To foster an ethic of responsible environmental stewardship, by providing educational programming and self-directed learning to educational groups, community organizations and the public at large. In conjunction with the foregoing, to teach sustainable forestry practices which manage the social, economic and ecological values provided by forests.

We support the concept of maintaining undisturbed forest areas as living examples of old growth forest available for the study and appreciation of their unique cultural and scientific values.

<![CDATA[Calendar]]>, 28 Jul 2019 4:46:59 -0400

<![CDATA[Volunteer]]>, 26 Feb 2019 9:57:43 -0500Shaw woods white tail deerWe welcome volunteers who wish to support our activities. In particular, we could use help with our "Adopt a Trail" program. Volunteers walk their adopted trail on a schedule of their choice and identify any necessary maintenance and/or safety issues.

Volunteers conduct minor (hand tool) work and identify any chainsaw requirements to done by certified professionals.

For further information please contact the Chair of our Trails Committee, John Collins.


<![CDATA[Education Programs ]]>, 29 Nov 2018 1:26:10 -0500We have been offering outdoor-experiential curriculum-based programs to students in Renfrew County since 2012. On average we see around 3,500 students each year. We are always excited when we see returning students who remember the highlights of their previous visits to the centre. 

Our programs are based on a graduated system, whereby students will build on their previous knowledge set in subsequent visits to the site throughout their elementary and secondary years. 

Program History

The Shaw Woods OEC programs began running when we received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for $50,000. Since then we have received funding an additional $155,000 from the OTF,  from the Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB), the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB) and the French-public School Board (CEPEO), Community Foundations and TD Friends of the Environment. 

Our activities, services and programs include: protecting and conserving the native landscape; educating and providing awareness training of environmental issues; delivering outdoor experiential curriculum-based programs to school groups; creating and sustaining partnerships with various community groups and organizations to promote the positive health of our environment and communities; creating awareness and advocacy projects with like-minded groups and individuals (for example, working with PAN State University to conduct a survey of the Red-backed Salamander population in relationship to the increase of the invasive earth worm population); providing recreational and tourists opportunities through the promotion of healthy active lifestyles; maintaining trail networks that are open to the public 365 days a year; hosting community events to promote the strengths of other not-for profit organizations in the local and provincial communities; providing unique opportunities for the scientific and research community in Canada and abroad.

Over the last two and a half years we have had 6,500 students from the Renfrew County District School Board and the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board attend the programs at our centre. We have received hundreds of thank you letters that demonstrate how much the students enjoyed their activities and the importance of what they learned. We have had teachers continue to return to the centre and continue to support our initiatives inside the classroom as well. We now receive funding to support one full-time staff to direct, develop, deliver, and coordinate programs and one part-time assitant until 2020. 

We have been approached by the French-public school board to invest in our organization, hire a French speaking teacher to learn our programs, and deliver them to their students.

We have students from Algonquin College developing programs to be offered at our site and to participate ecological projects that promote the protection of our ground source water.

We reach people through social media and have over 7000 visitors to our Facebook page each week. They learn about the local flora and fauna of the site and provide opportunities to share their own initiatives with others.

We are developing community events whereby various organizations come to our site to promote their own initiatives and participate in engaging and motivating activities that promote the environment and healthy active lifestyles.

Check out our partner and funders websites below: 





TD Friends of the Environment-

Community Futures-

<![CDATA[Board of Directors 2018/19]]>, 23 Aug 2018 10:45:12 -0400

Name Occupation Position on Board

Fred Blackstein Engineer, retired Co-Chair, SWOEC
Dana Shaw Forester Co-Chair, SWOEC
Carol Campbell Teacher, retired Secretary-Treasurer
Herb Shaw Lawyer, retired Shaw Family Representative
John Collins Physician, retired Chair Trails Ctee.
Ian Pineau Algonquin College Chair Risk Mgmt. Ctee.
Leanne Cheliak Teacher, retired Chair Education Ctee.
Lyndsey Mask Education Coordinator "Ex Officio"
Peter Burnette Teacher RCDSB Rep.
Rick Klatt Teacher RCCDSB Rep.
Colette Stitt Trustee CEPEO Rep.
Janice Visneskie Mayor KHR Renfrew County Rep.
Lacey Rose County Forester Advisor
Christina Davis MNRF Advisor
William Dick Cultural Centre Pikwakanagan Rep.
John Kasaboski Teacher, retired Director at Large
Dave Lemkay PNFI, retired Director at Large
Tomas Stephenson Forester, retired Director at Large

<![CDATA[Support]]>, 23 Aug 2018 10:38:39 -0400Donate Now Through!

Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre Inc is a registered charity.  Donations  are tax deductible.

To donate by cheque.

Make cheque payable to "Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre".

Mail to:
Shaw Woods OEC
c/o Carol Campbell
337 Matheson Dr.
Pembroke, ON
K8A 8S5 

Include your return address for tax receipt.

Our volunteers have contributed thousands of hours developing this unique centre.
Your financial donation supports this important project.

<![CDATA[Old Growth Forest Research]]>, 26 Sep 2017 2:14:51 -0400Our project is to quantify the features of Ontario's tolerant hardwood old-growth forests.  Old-growth features include vertical and horizontal complexity, large (over 60 cm dbh) and very large (over 90 cm dbh) trees, an abundance of standing dead trees, down woody debris, and pit and mound topology from trees tipping over.  These features are important to a variety of wildlife from amphibians and fungi on the forest floor to upper canopy birds and everything in between.  Old-growth features have never been quantified for Ontario sites before.  With the limited number of tolerant hardwood old-growth sites in Ontario, the measurements in Shaw Woods will greatly contribute to the data set.

We will be comparing old-growth with managed and unmanaged tolerant hardwood stands and discussing methods one can do to accelerate the development of old-growth features in managed stands using a technique called structural complexity enhancement (SCE).  SCE has been shown to accelerate the development of old-growth features, increase biodiversity, and increase the storage of carbon in comparison to traditional hardwood management.

I will be presenting the results along with my colleague Ken Elliot as the keynote speaker at the Trenton Woodlot Conference in November.

<![CDATA[Policies]]>, 25 Sep 2017 10:01:48 -0400<![CDATA[Native Plants ]]>, 25 Sep 2017 9:30:57 -0400These images have been taken from: Forest Plants of Central Ontario, Lone Pine, 1st Edition, 1996. The species have been specifically chosen to highlight the diversity of native plants along this trail; when the Grade 11 Biology class /studied along the trail, they grew to learn of these plants specific identifying features, medical uses, and whether they were edible vs. poisonous. Another amazing resource we used is Edible & Medicinal Plants of Canada, Lone Pine, New Edition, 2014. The goal was to have the students gain a better appreciation for the natural world through connecting to their studies in the classroom to the forest setting. They could feel, smell, and in some cases, taste the plants we introduced them to. It became a outdoor-experiential opportunity for everyone who participated. A special thank you to volunteer, Grant Dobson, for allowing the students to start their studies at his property. We always want to give a big thank you to all volunteers that make this centre run. 

<![CDATA[Eastern Red-backed Salamander Study 2017]]>, 30 May 2017 5:20:23 -0400Our Eastern Red-backed Salamander Study is well underway at Shaw Woods this spring! Each week we have been collecting data that indicates the health of the Red-backed Salamander population in our local area. This data will add to the SPARC-net project that is being conducted through PennState University. For more information please click on this link:

<![CDATA[Site Location]]>, 05 Dec 2016 11:21:15 -0500<![CDATA[East Side]]>, 05 Dec 2016 11:17:07 -0500These trails will take you along the Snake River, Dore Scarp and Shaws Pond. From at op the scenic lookout in times of low water, it is still possible to see the river channel as it was before the dam was built in the eighteenth century to create the millpond. The landscapes and diversity of life forms found here stand in sharp contrast to the hardwood forest spreading out before you to the southwest. Pre-1900 forest fire regimes and more recent logging has influenced the forests growing today.

However, as you will soon learn, there are numerous connections linking the natural, geological, and human histories of the land along both sides of the waterway. We hope you enjoy your journey back in time!

<![CDATA[Connaught Trail]]>, 05 Dec 2016 11:14:05 -0500This trail will take you over the Dore Scarp through a variety of forests and habitats from bogs to rock barrens. A complex system of wetlands is highly interspersed throughout this upland forest environment. The contrast between open wet and dry forested landscapes provides for an especially rich biodiversity. Most all of these lands were settled as homesteads during the 19th century and are now returning to forest cover as they should be. The link with the Connaught Settlement dates from 1847 when farmers there would carry their grain across the “Micksburg Mountain” to be ground at the new gristmill on Shaws Pond. We hope you enjoy your journey back in time!

<![CDATA[West Side]]>, 05 Dec 2016 11:11:03 -0500You are about to step into a rare and ancient forest. In many ways, it is not unlike what the first European explorers to eastern North America would have encountered. Some clues to recognizing this as an ‘Old Growth Forest’ are obvious while others are more subtle. See how many of these characte ristics you can identify on your walk:

  • High-branched, large diameter trees
  • Multilayered canopy
  • Pit and mound topography
  • Nurse logs and cavity trees
  • Lack of pioneer tree species
  • Absence of sawn stumps
<![CDATA[Maps and Visitor Guides]]>, 05 Dec 2016 11:01:34 -0500If you are planning a visit to the Shaw Woods print copies of the visitor guides or maps.
Printing your own guide helps us control printing costs.

If you are planning an outing for a large group or club, please check our Group Use Policy.

<![CDATA[Research]]>, 05 Dec 2016 10:49:55 -0500The unique topography and diverse habitats of the Shaw Woods offer researchers an exceptional location for research projects. Permission, in writing, is required for anyone wishing to conduct research or undertake similar activities on the property.

If you are interested in conducting research at the Shaw Woods contact Fred Blackstein, Co-Chair.

<![CDATA[The Shaws of Lake Dore]]>, 25 Nov 2016 2:13:39 -0500A brief history …

John Shaw, originally from Inverness, Scotland, his wife, the former Barbara Thompson and their two-year-old son John II arrived here by canoe from Bytown (Ottawa) in 1847. Barbara was a niece of Ann Crichton, wife of the Hon. Thomas McKay, who built many locks along the Rideau Canal and his home Rideau Hall, now home to Canada’s Governors General. John Shaw was McKay’s miller and he and Barbara were married at Rideau Hall.

Upper Canada was quite a remote destination in those days with only a few families living in the united townships of Wilberforce, Grattan and Frazer (sic). Drawn by the potential water power of the Snake River, a sawmill and three-story gristmill were quickly established. By 1851 seven people were employed and the young enterprise had begun a long history, making it now the longest established family-owned lumber business in Canada. Fifth generation John 5th and Dana Shaw carry on the business today.

The Shaw’s first house was a simple 1 ½-story log structure. A mixed farm produced a variety of products to be sold or traded for help running the mills across the road. Several of the Shaws served as postmaster for the Lake Dore hamlet. John Shaw ll, known as “Honest John”, was at one time reeve and treasurer of Wilberforce Township and served on County Council in 1880. Local farmers from miles around would draw logs to be sawn and grain to be milled. In 19th century Renfrew County it was not uncommon to carry 35 kg. bags of grain for many miles and return home later that day with the ground flour. You can see two of the original grist stones, shipped from Scotland and used in the mill, at the Shaws Pond dam-site.

Several ‘day books’ from this time period tabulate the business’s local commerce, and every year (or two) the accounts would be settled. Trading of goods and services such as with the “Desjardin Steam Carriage, Sleigh and Waggon Factory” was established. The Shaws provided sawn basswood lumber, a lightweight and easily worked component for sleighs and carriages, and the Pembroke company supplied manufactured items for the Lake Dore company’s operations. At year’s end the party with accounts receivable had the dollar amount listed with the antiquated accounting term ‘favor’.

In 1942 the company, now operated by Herb and Len Shaw, sons of John ll, relocated to Pembroke to be closer to business interests. Their stately frame home, with its impressive stone fences and gardens was removed when the Bulger Road was widened. In the early 1950’s the farm fields were reforested with pine by Herb’s sons, John and Donald Shaw.

In the 1970’s the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Nature Conservancy of Canada became interested in the property’s natural heritage value, and in partnership with the Shaw family established the Shaw Woods Nature Preserve. With uncommon plant species, centuries-old trees and animals as diverse as lynx and bald eagle, the woods have welcomed visitors from far and wide for decades. Over the years many scientific journals have contained reference to research conducted here, taking special advantage of the virtually untouched living laboratory. Currently, Algonquin College, the University of Guelph and the Great Lakes Forestry Centre all have field research projects.

Recently, a local not-for-profit charitable organization (SWOEC) was formed to provide for enhanced interpretive and educational opportunities. Their mandate is to foster an ethic of responsible environmental stewardship and highlight sound forest management practice, (a legacy of the Shaw owners down through the years) while at the same time respecting and protecting reserves such as this one for generations to come.......We hope you enjoy your visit.

by Grant Dobson and Mernie James, with Lana Shaw, Lisa Shaw-Verhoek and Lisbeth Shaw-Cullen

<![CDATA[Events]]>, 25 Nov 2016 1:02:20 -0500<![CDATA[About]]>, 25 Nov 2016 1:02:20 -0500

Mission Statement:
To foster an ethic of responsible environmental stewardship, by providing educational programming and self-directed learning to educational groups, community organizations and the public at large. In conjunction with the foregoing, to teach sustainable forestry practices which manage the social, economic and ecological values provided by forests.

We support the concept of maintaining undisturbed forest areas as living examples of old growth forest available for the study and appreciation of their unique cultural and scientific values.

  • The Shaw Woods OEC is a registered charitable, not for profit organization managed by a board of directors.
  • The Shaw Woods OEC was incorporated in 2010.
  • The property has been in the Shaw Family since 1847.
  • For over a century  the site included a working farm with a water powered saw mill and grist mill.
  • The site includes 50 hectares of old-growth forest and 160 hectares of wetlands and mixed forest.
  • The 14 km network of trails is maintained by a team of volunteers.
  • Trail Guides and Maps
  • The site is open year around, dawn to dusk.
  • Some trails are occasionally closed for special events.
  • There is no charge for parking or access to the site.
  • Washrooms available on site.
  • Cell reception available over much of the site.
  • School Program Information.
<![CDATA[Contact]]>, 25 Nov 2016 11:30:48 -0500