South Nation’s maple education program welcomes students starting March 7

SNC welcomes school children for the sweet season at Sand Road Maple Farm.

FINCH — A sweet educational opportunity returns to South Nation Conservation (SNC) for a 17th season.

In partnership with Sand Road Maple Farm in Moose Creek, SNC is once again offering its popular Maple Education Program, providing a unique, hands-on history of the production of maple syrup.

Guided by SNC interpreters, pre-booked K-12 school groups enjoy a leisurely hike through the sugar bush while learning how maple syrup makes it from the tree to your breakfast table. The bilingual program is offered March 7 through April 7, and interested schools must book their visits with SNC in advance.  Tours are also available for adult groups.

Program participants learn all about the evolution of the sugaring process, from boiling sap in a hollowed-out log as the First Nations did, to the huge cast iron kettles of the early settlers, to today’s modern evaporators that transform sap into sweet-tasting maple syrup.  And, if the weatherman cooperates, participants will see maple syrup being made.

“While there’s plenty of fun to be had during an SNC/Sand Road outing, the true emphasis is on education,” says program coordinator, Kelsey Smith.  Students learn how to identify various tree species, woodlot management, and the role forests play within watersheds.

“It’s all about connecting students to our natural environment with the understanding that people are part of the environment and not separate from it,” says Smith. “Lessons learned at Sand Road can last a lifetime.”

The two-hour tours, which follow the K-12 science curriculum, start at 9:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. To offset expenses, a charge of $7 is collected up front from each participant and includes the tour and a maple treat. Organizers require a minimum 15 people per group. Pancake meals are also available starting at $5 per person.

To help make the program more accessible, SNC offers a transportation subsidy of up to $150 per eligible school. Additionally, SNC is offering Maple Education Lesson Kits to be loaned to schools and groups who are unable to visit the programming site.

The Sand Road log cabin remains open to all visitors even while tours are being conducted.


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