Join us for the 31st Annual Woodlot Tour and Conference! The 2024 annual event is being co-hosted by the Huronia Chapter and will be held in Barrie, Ontario on April 23-24, 2024 at the Horseshoe Resort.

For our 31st year we are celebrating Restoration and Resilience in Simcoe County with four speakers, three options for tours, and a delicious banquet dinner at the Horseshoe Resort. We hope you will join us for this educational and entertaining event. There will be ample time to network throughout the two-day event and connect with fellow Woodlanders, professionals and students from across the province.

We are pleased to announce that this year's event will include a Trade show to showcase and celebrate local and provincial work in forestry and conservation on April 23 (evening) and April 24 (all day).

Pre-registration is required to attend the Woodlot Tour and Conference and will close on March 31, 2024 11:59 p.m. ET.

NOTICE: As of January 24, 2024 the OWA has enabled a waitlist for the Annual Woodlot Tour and Conference due to capacity limits at the venue. We will still be able to allow a modest number of waitlisted individuals to register for the event.


[ez-toggle title="How do I register?"]Select the "Waitlist" button above to open the registration page and select your ticket type. You can also find the event on the OWA Event Calendar. Additional information including pricing is available on the registration page. Please note that being added to the waitlist does not guarantee you will be able to register.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="What are the tour options?"]We are once again offering three exciting and diverse tour options to cater to various interests, arrival times and accessibility. The three options include a half-day bus tour of local woodlots, a guided hike through Copeland forest with a local naturalist, and a guided tour of the Simcoe County Museum. A bagged lunch is provided in the cost of registration for all tours. Tour descriptions are available below.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="Who are the speakers?"]We are pleased to welcome Jeff Monague during the banquet dinner to provide an Indigenous perspective on forest resiliency. The next morning our Plenary speaker, Graeme Davis, Forester at the County of Simcoe will provide a history of the region's forests. Our other speakers include: Dorthea Hangaard, Executive Director of Couchiching Conservancy; David Hawke local naturalist, educator, and recipient of OWA’s 2023 Lorax Award; and Chris Gilmore of Chris Outdoors.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="What can I expect from the trade show?"]New to this year's event is an indoor and outdoor trade show! The trade show will include vendors specializing in forestry, small-equipment, conservation and the environmental sectors. The trade show is scheduled to run from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on April 23, 2024 and from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on April 24, 2024. Multiple opportunities to stretch your legs and visit the trade show are built into the event agenda to ensure attendees have ample time to visit all exhibitors. Read more below. [/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="Which meals are included in the cost of registration?"]The full conference registration includes lunch both days and the Banquet Dinner on April 23, 2024. Once payment has been confirmed you will receive a survey link to select your entrée for the Banquet Dinner. Both the full conference registration and day 2 registration includes a catered lunch, and morning and afternoon coffee breaks on April 24, 2023.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="Will there be a silent auction?"]Yes. We are seeking new, handmade and antique items for our annual silent auction. If you have an item you would like to have considered for donation please contact OWA Board of Director, Colleen Baehre, at with a description of the item. Please make arrangements to bring the silent auction item with you to the conference or make arrangements to have another attendee bring the item. Donations can be dropped off during event check-in, and additional details will be shared with all silent auctions donors prior to the conference.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="Is there a group rate for local accommodations?"]Yes. The OWA has secured a group rate for accommodations at the Horseshoe Resort.  Reservations must be made by March 23, 2024 to qualify for the group rate. Additional details are included in the event confirmation email once payment has been completed.[/ez-toggle]

Huronia Woodlot Tour

Simcoe County Museum

Guided Walk in Copeland Forest

Concurrent Tours - April 23rd, 2024

Once again, we are offering a choice between three tours to cater to varying learning goals, physical abilities, and interests, allowing you to select the option that best suits you. Each tour includes a complimentary lunch as part of the registration cost.

Huronia Woodlot Tour

Check-in at the foyer between Alpine and Fairway rooms between 10:00 a.m. - 10:55 a.m. The tour departs from the bus loading area at 11:00 a.m. and will return by 4:00 p.m. for the trade show and reception. 

The Huronia Woodlot bus tour aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire woodlot management process, starting from the thinning stage and progressing to the production of the final product. The tour kicks off with a guided walk through a local woodlot currently undergoing thinning. Participants will gain insights into managed woodlots in Simcoe County, explore the intricacies of the selection and tender process, and delve into the challenges posed by diseases and invasive species affecting the softwood industry. The itinerary includes discussions on grading and processing logs, the transformation of raw materials into finished products such as lumber, and the varied uses of milling byproducts like bark and sawdust. Additionally, attendees will learn about ongoing planting initiatives. The tour culminates with a guided walk through the Robert Ritchie Forest Products sawmill in Elmvale, offering a firsthand look at the final stages of wood processing. We recommend sturdy walking or hiking shoes for comfort and a rain jacket because the tour will proceed rain or shine. A boxed lunch will be provided for all participants to eat at their leisure during the bus tour. 

Simcoe County Museum

Check-in at the foyer between Alpine and Fairway rooms from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Attendees should plan to leave the hotel by 1:00 p.m. in order to meet the group at the museum for 1:30 p.m. The tour is scheduled to conclude at 3:30 p.m. in order to return to the hotel for the trade show and reception. 

Address: Simcoe County Museum, 1151 Highway 26, Minesing, Ontario L9X 0Z7

From prehistoric times to the modern era, the Simcoe County Museum's galleries and outdoor heritage displays showcase the people, events, and artifacts that define Simcoe County's rich and diverse history. The collection spans from mastodons to intricate hair wreaths, elegant wedding gowns to robust farm machinery, ensuring there's something intriguing for every visitor. Explore the Simcoe County Museum's website for more information by clicking here. The registration fee covers a guided tour by museum staff, dedicated time for individual exploration of your favorite exhibits, and lunch. Participants will convene at the hotel, with lunch available from 12:00 p.m. onward. Participants should plan to arrive at the museum for 1:00 p.m., which is conveniently a 20-minute drive from the hotel and offers on-site parking.

Update: This tour will also include an optional guided tour of the ongoing Kirtland's warbler habitat restoration project on the museum's grounds. 

Guided Walk in Copeland Forest

Notice: Due to capacity limits we are unable to admit any additional participants on this tour. All registrants who completed the tour selection survey prior to March 1, 2024 will be admitted on this tour. 

Check-in at the foyer between Alpine and Fairway rooms between 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The tour will depart from the Alpine room at 1:30 p.m. and return to the hotel by 4:00 p.m. in order to return to the trade show and reception. 

Embark on a guided stroll through sections of the expansive 4,400-acre Copeland Forest Resources Management Area, led by local naturalist David J. Hawke. Joining us on this exploration is an expert from Birds Canada's Forest Bird team, offering insights into bird identification and information throughout the tour. Situated adjacent to Horseshoe Resort, this remarkable forest serves as the backdrop for discussions on historic geology, spring wildflowers, migrating songbirds, and general forest ecology. The trek involves relatively easy walking on established trails, with occasional damp and rocky terrain. We recommend sturdy walking or hiking shoes for comfort. Participants will convene at the hotel, where lunch will be available starting at 12:00 p.m. 


[ez-toggle title="Graeme Davis: The Simcoe County Forest - A Century of Growth and Renewal"]European settlers in the 19th century viewed the forests of this region as an inexhaustible resource to be exploited. Vast quantities of virgin timber were harvested, driving early settlement patterns and developing the region’s earliest infrastructure. Following closely behind, farming expanded rapidly and what remained of area forests was seen as a barrier to progress. By the early 20th century, a severe lack of forest cover throughout much of south and central Ontario was having significant consequences. Recognizing this, some key individuals began to document the problems and offer solutions through the reestablishment of forest cover. Simcoe County became the first jurisdiction to enter the ‘Agreement Forest’ Program with the Province of Ontario in 1922. Over the decades since, management objectives, priorities and methods evolved, but the commitment to invest never faltered. Following a century of continued effort, Simcoe County has turned what was once a devasted landscape into Ontario’s largest ‘Community Forest’.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="Dorthea Hangaard: Land Trusts and Easements"]There are a variety of options to ensure your property remains as an ‘oasis of green’ long after you have passed on your ownership. Dorthea Hangaard, Executive Director of the local Couchiching Conservancy Land Trust will provide information about the benefits and challenges of registering your property as a Conservation Easement.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="David Hawke: The Formation and Ecological Benefits of the Oro Moraine"]Similar to its ‘big sister’ the Oak Ridges Moraine, the 14,000 hectare Oro Moraine provides abundant fresh water, fertile soils, sand and gravel deposits, rural residential areas, multi and all seasonal recreation opportunities, habitat for species of concern, and is the base for many agricultural operations. David will explain the challenges of protecting the natural benefits of the moraine against the relentless pressure of development.[/ez-toggle]

[ez-toggle title="Chris Gilmour: Foraging and Forest Gardening - Sustainable Food from Your Woodlot"]Before modern farms, much of our food came from foraging and hunting. Forest Gardening is consciously tending the forest to increase the foraging potential for humans while protecting food sources and ecological integrity for wildlife. Practices can include tending existing species, foraging, and cultivating species such as edible mushrooms.[/ez-toggle]


The trade show is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate work in sustainable forestry and conservation. The exhibitors specialize in forestry, small-equipment, conservation and the environmental sectors. Exhibitors will be set up both indoors and outdoors. 

The trade show is scheduled to run from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on April 23, 2024 and from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on April 24, 2024.

On April 23rd, you can take in the trade show once you return from your tour and prior to the reception and banquet dinner. The next day there are multiple opportunities to stretch your legs and visit the trade show to ensure attendees have ample time to connect with the companies, businesses and non-profits that align with their interests as a woodlot owner, forest practitioner, professional or lifelong student. 

Exhibitors will include Vermeer Canada, Chris OutdoorsBirds Canada and more! 


Thank you to all of our past participants, conference sponsors, students sponsors and planning committee members over the years. We hope you will join us once again for the 31st  Annual Woodlot Tour and Conference. Click here for more information about sponsoring the 2024 conference.





Ontario Woodlot Association

10 Campus Dr., Unit 4

Kemptville, Ontario

K0G 1J0

Phone: 613-713-1525

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