When my husband and I retired we moved very close to the Copeland Forest. It quickly became our favourite place. We were both avid naturalists and I was president of the Orillia Naturalists’ Club. I am a retired science teacher having taught chemistry, biology and environmental science. I took my students on field trips to a forest as often as possible. When you live near the Copeland Forest going for a walk in it provides the sense of tranquillity that is urgently needed in today’s hectic lives. It is difficult to pick a season that I enjoy most in the forest. In the spring the wild flowers are beautiful and so are the delicate shades of green on the young leaves. The ferns are special to me too. Everyone appreciates the fall colours. The winter scenes with snow on the trees are spectacular. The activities that I enjoy most in the forest are cross-country skiing, going on nature walks and snowshoeing. The Copeland Forest Friends are cooperating to try to maintain the beauty and ecological integrity of the forest for a variety of user groups.
David has been hiking and skiing in the Copeland Forest for over twenty years. When he retired from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, he and his wife Margaret moved up closer to the Forest. David has now taken up nature and landscape photography as his second career.David has had a lifelong commitment to conservation and has been the Chair of the Sierra Club of Ontario (earlier in his career), Chair of the first major North American Acid Rain Conference, and a board member and secretary of the Couchiching Conservancy. He is also a member of the Bruce Trail Association and the Ganaraska Trail Association. With the Couchiching Conservancy, David developed the Copeland Forest Stewardship Initiative and now serves as the President of the Copeland Forest Friends Association.
Ingrid works as a student exchange coordinator facilitating exchanges between high school students throughout Canada and Europe. She and her family moved to Horseshoe Valley in 1998 and she has been hiking and snowshoeing in the Copeland Forest 3-4 times a week ever since. Ingrid is the Resident rep on the board and also Membership Coordinator.
In 2012, when the newly formed Copeland Forest Stewardship Committee was looking for members, Mary Anne volunteered to act as the Mountain Bike rep. Her passion for protecting the unique trail system in Copeland Forest brought her to the committee, but working with the other committee members, who now form the Copeland Forest Friends Association, has opened her eyes to the incredible ecological value of this magnificent property. Five years later and she is still learning about this diverse forest. Mary Anne currently serves as the Snow Sports user group rep and also as Vice President on the Executive of the Board.
Neil Craig is a lifelong resident of Craighurst. He farms on land his family obtained from the crown in 1819, on the western edge of the Copeland Forest. He has been actively involved in the community as a former mayor of Oro-Medonte, past chairman of the Huronia Woodland Owners Association and warden at St. John`s Church Craighurst. Neil remembers his father raking and baling hay around Martinville in the Copeland Forest as feed for the horses at Copeland’s mill. Neil currently serves as the Business Rep on the Board as well as Treasurer on the Executive of the Board.
Andrew currently works at Horseshoe Resort as the Cycling and Cross Country Ski Pro and the Copeland Forest has been a part of his life for well over 20 years. “We are so fortunate to have such a diverse forest and wetland wilderness in our own back yard that is accessible for everyone. Through the Copeland Forest Friends and the partnerships with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Horseshoe Resort and the local community, I sincerely believe we will sustain the beauty, ecology and history of the Copeland for generations to come.”
Derek has been a licensed hunter for over 30 years and has fished all his life. A professional land use planner, Derek and his family live in Craighurst and enjoy exploring Copeland Forest year-round. Habitat improvement and bringing together all Copeland Forest users on conservation projects and are what motivate Derek. In addition to the Copeland Forest Friends Association, he is an active member of the Barrie District Hunters & Anglers Conservation Club and the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters. In the fall Derek can be found in Copeland Forest hunting grouse and woodcock with his Yellow Labrador Retriever “Whisky”, or archery hunting for deer.
Sandy McLoughlin has had a passion for horses for most of her life. She has owned and run Copeland Hills Stables for the past ten years, which is a private boarding facility – a short ride from the Copeland Forest. You may spot her from time to time in the Copeland Forest with the black Egyptian Arabian Horse named “Cody”. Sandy currently serves as Secretary on the executive of the Copeland Forest Friends.
Dave is the Naturalist representative on the board of “The Friends”. Although interested in all aspects of nature his enduring passion is watching and studying birds. Dave is a past president of the (Barrie) Brereton Field Naturalists’ Club and leads nature hikes in the Copeland Forest. He currently does an annual bird survey within the forest for the Forest Bird Monitoring Program, a volunteer program for Environment Canada.
Bob graduated as a civil engineer and has worked for the federal and provincial governments, a private engineering consulting firm and has taught at the University of Guelph and Georgian College. He also had a two year civil engineering assignment with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) in Malaysia. Bob moved to an acreage under forest management just south of Horseshoe Valley in 1979. He is married and has three married sons and six grandchildren. His main activities in Copeland Forest have been hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. He believes that the Copeland Forest Friends Association is important in order to keep this resource intact for future generations.
Brad has been living and riding mountain bikes in Horseshoe Valley for 12 years and is currently introducing his two young boys to the Copeland forest on bikes, skis and snowshoes. He spends many hours in the forest making sure the trails are safe for all users and enjoys showing off one of the best trail networks in southern Ontario to first time Copeland riders. His goal on the board will be to ensure a safe, fun, and challenging trail network into the future by continuing to work with all of the forest’s user groups.