Dry Stone Canada offers two bursaries to support dry stone wallers in developing their skills, experience, and contribution to the art and craft of dry stone walling and construction. These are the Joseph Boterman Bursary, and the Ireland-Canada Waldemar Wower Learning Exchange Bursary. 

If you are interested in helping with the decisions and administration of these programs, connect with the committee here


Joseph Boterman Bursary

Joe Boterman was a long time member of Dry Stone Canada. While not the most vocal of our members, he was certainly one of the most experienced. He attended all of our festivals and was a strong proponent of the craft. Joe passed away in 2019. 

Knowing how important dry stone was to Joe, his family asked if there was a way we could honour him and at the same time find a way to help new wallers get established.

Thus the Joe Boterman fund was established. Seed money from donations by the family and some of our members has made this a possibility. 

Each year a waller is identified as a recipient and receives $250 which is to be used to purchase new tools (the most expensive part of walling). This bursary is in partnership with Derusha Tools who also provide a 15% discount for the recipient’s purchase. 

The bursary program is open to general members based on their matching the criteria of the program.


2022 was the first year we could offer this bursary as 2020 and 2021 were impacted by the pandemic.

At our Members Symposium held at McMullen Farm on Amherst Island in Sept 2022 we identified three recipients (thus accounting for 2020, 2021).

Diana Waddon, David Mack, and Vin Bertola were each offer the bursary. It was also a special opportunity because John Boterman (Joe’s brother) and Joe Vanderzand (a close friend to both Joe and John) were able to congratulate the recipients.

Ireland-Canada Learning Exchange Waldemar Wower Bursary

In 2009 Waldemar and the other DSWAI founders were participants in a training course practicing entirely dry stone technique. A friendship soon emerged between the three that saw many days and evenings spent talking about dry stone and what could and was being done with the medium in the training center and out there in the international dry stone ‘scene’.
 With Waldemar being the main driving force, the three DSWAI founders began following groups in Canada and the U.S. who were holding events and creating public space works in dry stone.

Waldemar began showing his fellow DSWAI founders images and videos of people like John Shaw Rimmington and what he and others were doing in Canada to promote and actively engage with dry stone as a creative medium for expressing a new wave of stone craft without the use of mortar. The fascination was infectious and soon the three began to discuss the idea of doing something in Ireland to establish a dry stone walling group. Waldemar would regularly say “We should do something here!”
Eventually, this notion was made real when the three founding members of DSWAI sat 
down and put pen to paper, forming the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland on 21st August 2009.

In 2013 Waldemar was one of the many professional wallers on-site in Lough Boora to launch the Gathering of Stones project.

The DSWAI owes its foundation to Waldemar Wower.

Despite his huge admiration for the dry stone wallers of Canada and a desire to visit there and ‘join in’ with them, Waldemar never managed to make the trip. He became ill in early 2018 and died of cancer in October of that year.

In 2021 a working group of 3 DSWAI and 3 Dry Stone Canada members met with the intention to draw up a proposal document for the Bursary. Following a suggestion from one of the other DSWAI founders to name the bursary after Waldemar it was agreed by that group to adopt the name. Hence the ‘Waldemar Wower Bursary Award’

In 2022 we successfully completed the first exchange.

As this bursary may not occur every year Dry Stone Canada and Dry Stone Walling Association of Ireland will announce when we are accepting applications.  The goal is to have one person from Ireland and one person from Canada be selected for the bursary. Each person will spend two weeks on the others country.

This is an exciting opportunity to improve your dry stone walling skills by learning from some of the best dry stone wallers in our respective countries.  The recipients will travel to the other’s country and have an opportunity to work alongside skilled wallers on various projects and to participate in both the Dry Stone Canada Festival (location varies year to year) and the Feile na gCloch Dry Stone Festival on Inis Oirr, County Galway, Ireland.

For the Canadian applicant you will receive $2500 which will help cover the costs of the following:

  • Travel (planes, trains, and automobiles)
  • Accommodation
  • A stipend to cover your food and accommodation on your days off

Note: Every effort will be made by DSWAI to help cover costs of travel within Ireland, accommodations and meals with your host waller(s), festival fees, etc. but not all may be covered.

What is expected of you:

  • A presentation at either festival or symposium telling attendees about who you are, and your connection to dry stone walling
  • Volunteering at 3 workshops in your home country
  • Volunteering at the festival/ symposium in both your home and host country
  • In Ireland, a write up of your experience for DSWAI newsletter/website/forum
  • In Canada, a blog post for our website

If you intend to apply you must have the following:

  • Enough money to cover any unforeseen costs
  • Personal travel insurance
  • An up-to-date passport 
  • You have a genuine desire to actively participate in your home  dry stone walling association.


When we announce that we are taking applications please send your resume along with a cover letter explaining why you are the ideal candidate for this exchange. Please let us know of any special needs that you might have to make this opportunity possible for you.

We are open to all levels of walling and encouraging those with less experience to apply as an opportunity to have a memorable experience and learn the skills needed to further your dry stone walling future.


Submit application or if you have questions about the bursary please send email to drystonecanada@yahoo.ca.
Title email: Ireland Canada Scholarship

Jen Corrigan, born in Ontario in 1975, married and mother of three children. An outdoor enthusiast from the get-go, lover of mother earth, photographer, farm hand, tree planter, food grower, kayaker, wildlife observer, retired racing Greyhound adopter, stonemason apprentice, dry stone waller.

The beauty of stone aesthetically arranged caught my eye early on, a visit to Wales and England in 1992 solidified my opinion that stone buildings and dry stone walls placed everywhere, effortlessly a part of nature, is the ideal landscape. I’m drawn like a magnet to limestone and sandstone studded towns like Fergus, Elora, Perth, and Brockville, could be my Scottish and Welsh ancestry, no matter, I don’t want to resist it anyway.

As I got older and started making my living from the land growing vegetables, I came across the same “problem” everyone who has worked the ground has found, stone mysteriously bubbled up every spring where I wanted to plant my vegetables. I came up with the same solution as my forefathers, dumping the stone into the hedgerow until I got some free time to place them into a proper wall.

Well, in growing vegetables for a living, free time never comes until you have snow covering the ground, which also covers the stones you eagerly want to work with. Frustration that gnawed at me, the urge to handle stones was irresistible, I needed to change how I spent my time.

Enter Dry Stone Canada and the workshop that changed the trajectory of my life three years ago. No other work was ever this satisfying, I had to find a way to become a skilled and year-round employable stonemason. Through the inspiration created by and the generosity of Dry Stone Canada, The Ontario Masonry Training Centre, Dry Stone Walling Across Canada and The Stone Trust, along with many journeymen, wallers and mastercraftsmen that have given me the gift of their time, support and advice, I am gaining the valuable skills and confidence needed to realize my dream! The community of dry stone wallers around the world are an inclusive bunch, I am grateful for the sense of belonging, it really does make a difference.