While taking a rather long extended break from my weekly blogs, I was busy working at Island Lake Conservation Area’s sugar bush. Wanda and I have enjoyed working at the Maple Syrup Festival and with the grade one Maple Syrup Program for the past ten years.
The sugar bush attracted over 5000 visitors this year. Visitors included grade one students, teachers, parent volunteers, visitors to the festival and those who attended the sugar bush tour by lamplight. Everyone got to enjoy an educational program that explains the history of making maple syrup. The tour and grade one program concluded with a visit to the sugar shack followed by samples of Island Lake maple syrup and everyone’s favorite, mouthwatering taffy! Employees of the Credit Valley Conservation Area (ILCA) and Upper Grand District School Board’s Outdoor Educational staff worked in collaboration to make the program exciting, entertaining of course educational.
This was the second year that the staff at ILCA provided a tour of the sugar bush by lamplight. In addition to the historical aspects of making maple syrup, the Green Red Show was added to provide some humor for those adults who braved the cold temperatures for the tours.
It was a rather unusual year at the sugar bush. The sap was running when we put up the blue lines and over 250 pails just prior to March Break. The cold temperatures prevented sap from running with the exception of Easter weekend. Every year is different but in the end, it is always very satisfying and rewarding to be teaching the grade ones and entertaining young and old during the festival.