BROOME CO., N.Y. — Students at three Broome County elementary schools got a taste of how syrup gets from tap to table courtesy of the NYS Maple Producers’ Association’s Maple Experience. The traveling exhibit visited Johnson City Elementary and Middle Schools, as well as Binghamton’s Woodrow Wilson and Horace Mann Elementary Schools as part of its ongoing tour around the state. Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who helped organize the visit, secured funding in this year’s state budget for the Association to purchase the new mobile unit and expand statewide educational outreach.
“It’s very important for students to see firsthand where their food comes from,” said Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. “I was impressed by how excited the students were who visited the Maple Experience exhibit and by the quality of their questions. The hands-on demonstrations also help students appreciate New York agriculture and even envision possible career paths. I appreciate the NYS Maple Producers’ Association visiting Broome County and can’t wait for the exhibit to return.”
“Maple is one of the fastest growing industries in New York and it’s important for people to learn more about where these products come from,” said Keith Schiebel, Maple Support Specialist for the NYS Maple Producers’ Association. “We’re very excited to be able to use the Maple Experience to share real, pure maple syrup and related products with people in all corners of the state, especially students.”
Demonstrations in the exhibit included how maple trees are tapped, sap boiling, and a showcase of New York maple products. The experience, which was staffed by students from Windsor and Greenville chapters of the FFA, culminated with a real maple syrup tasting. Hundreds of students passed through the Maple Experience during its stops at the three Broome County schools.
“Here in the Binghamton City School District, we’re very passionate about interactive learning,” said Binghamton School Superintendent Dr. Tonia Thompson. “A visit from this mobile maple exhibit allows our students to learn about the maple production process by seeing, touching, and even tasting the product. This is an experience that’s both fun and educational for our children, and we appreciate the opportunity.”
“This opportunity to bring NYS agriculture to our students allows them to learn about and experience where the foods they consume originate,” said Johnson City School Superintendent Mary Kay Roland. “It gives children a greater appreciation for all the wonderful products our state produces.”
New York is the second-largest producer of maple in the country. NY farmers produced 800,000 gallons of maple in 2018, nearly double the amount from ten years ago; the industry generates an estimated $141 million in economic impact each year. The state is home to the largest resource of tappable maple trees within the United States, and more than 2,000 maple sugarmakers.
–The Office of Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo
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