Maxville syrup maker helps revive educational centre
Submitted by Agroforestry Educational Centre, Kemptville come, for all the generations ahead of us.”
Nine-hundred and fifty vacuum taps are installed in the Kemptville bush this season. “The sap is pouring in,” observes Mr. Heerkens, estimating that 75 per cent of the average crop had flowed into Eastern Ontario sugar shacks by last week, with potentially much more of the season yet to go.
While sap flows have been high, sugar content is down somewhat this season, due to the wet and cloudy summer of 2017, which may work out to an average syrup production year overall if trends continue.
“It all depends on the weather,” says Mr. Wensink, who marvels at the reality of being back in charge of the boiler at the centre. “When I left here, I didn’t think I’d be back,” acknowledges the St. Lawrence Parks Commission employee. “It’s like riding a bike,” he adds of his return, also conceding that “making maple syrup is a bit of an addiction.”
The centre was once a popular pancake spot during the annual Kemptville College Royal. In addition to being a research station and partner in the Eastern Ontario Model Forest program, Mr. Wensink also recalls the place hosting local elementary schools — the bush features a number of informative plaques aimed at primary students— as well as a regularly scheduled adult daycare program.
Young and old alike also visited the place to see a replica of the wells deployed in 16 developing countries by Ryan’s Well Foundation, founded by Kemptville native and local hero Ryan Hreljac as a schoolboy. Mr. Heerkens has personally cleaned up that area, located behind the centre. The operators await the public, about one kilometre west of County Rd. 44, at 2627 Bedell Rd.
New life for Kemptville College
The Ontario government and the municipality of North Grenville are partnering to transform the former Kemptville campus of the University of Guelph into an education and community hub. The agreement will allow for the transformation of the majority of the Kemptville campus, where the University of Guelph previously delivered agricultural programming, into an education and community hub that focuses on education and training, health and wellness and economic development emphasizing climate change resiliency and low carbon innovation.