The Drey Land Experience

Drey Land, the school’s wilderness camp in the Ozarks, is a valuable resource for orientation programs, biology field research, outdoor education and service outings.

A concern for nature has been central to a Burroughs education from the beginning. Our founders named the school for the American naturalist and essayist who was a key player in the evolution of the U.S conservation movement. But it is an alumnus's provision that has catalyzed an extensive program in ecology and outdoor education. In 1969, Leo Drey ’34 offered to lease 40 acres of Ozark woodland in the Pioneer Forest to the school for an annual fee of $1. Burroughs students and faculty maintain the property, which borders Sinking Creek, a clear, gravel-bottomed stream that is a tributary of the Current River. 

Throughout the years, the Burroughs community has built and maintained most of the facilities, including cabins, a pavilion and a main lodge. Faculty and students have also cleared miles of trail and have been acknowledged by the National Park Service.

The Great Outdoor Challenge

Alice Walz Galt ’70 learned of the school’s need to dramatically improve Drey Land, and made the first leadership gift to begin improvements. Although Alice never experienced Drey Land when she was a JBS student, she was inspired to make her gift because Drey Land benefits every Burroughs student and the larger school community. Alice has structured her gift to match the first $500,000 donated to this project.

Drey Land remains a rustic retreat that serves a dual function as community builder and natural resource.

About Leo Drey

Leo Drey

The late Leo Drey '34 was best known in the state of Missouri as an environmentalist landowner. He established the nearly 160,000-acre Pioneer Forest to demonstrate that Ozark forests could produce a continuous supply of timber and still maintain a range of environmental values. When he purchased his first tract of land in 1951, clear-cutting methods had left the landscape sparse and scraggly. Mr. Drey adopted a philosophy of sustainable land management—that is, selectively cutting trees as they reach maturity and maximum value. The theory, which has proven true, was that a lighter touch to logging could produce a profit while retaining the natural beauty of the forest, reducing soil erosion and preserving wildlife habitats. Mr. Drey also bought and turned over for public use thousands of acres of the state’s most pristine natural areas.Several years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Drey relinquished their title as the state’s largest landowners by donating nearly all of the Pioneer Forest to a foundation, which will care for Mr. Drey’s forest in perpetuity.

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