PIQUA — Have you ever wondered how maple syrup is made? Are you ready to shake off winter and enjoy a little fresh air? If so, you are invited to Upper Valley Career Center’s Willowbrook Environmental Education Center in Piqua on Sunday, March 12 from 1:00 until 4:00pm to see how nature’s sweetness is gathered and then made into syrup.
The students in Landscape and Natural Resources will show visitors the process of taking sap from Sugar Maple trees, and turning it into pure maple syrup. A highlight this year is a collaborative project with Carson Knupp from Pre-Engineering and Design Technologies. Carson designed a tubing system that runs on solar panels/batteries and collects sap from 34 of the 180 taps installed by Landscape and Natural resources students. With the help of classmate Landon Monnin, Carson was able to see his vision become a reality at Willowbrook.
From the maple sugar bush where the sap is collected, guests visit the sugaring house to see the sap boiling on the evaporator. Finally, the best part is tasting the final all-natural sweet syrup with pancakes from the FFA. Guests are also encouraged to take a stroll around the 180 acre natural area to see the early blossoming of spring.
Lastly, take some time to walk through the Garbry historical collection. Visitors can tour the J. Scott Museum for a trip “back in time.” The village square provides a glimpse of a barbershop, a general store, a bank, post office, offices for a doctor, dentist, and lawyer, and much more. There will also be an opportunity to see the U. S. Mail Rural Route 7 horse-drawn buggy and fire engines from Fletcher and Piqua Fire Departments. This collection was assembled over a lifetime, and its purpose is to preserve the local heritage of Shelby and Miami counties, giving visitors a glimpse of life at the turn of the 21st century.
The Willowbrook Environmental Education Center is located at 8415 Looney Road, Piqua, just south of Edison State Community College. The event is free and open to the public. Families are encouraged to attend with their children.