Hundreds of young students invited to explore maple's cultural importance to Quebec's heritage and encouraged to reflect on maple groves as UNESCO World Heritage sites
LONGUEUIL, QC, Feb. 4, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - In an effort to contribute to the quality education of Quebec's youth, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) is providing elementary school teachers with an educational program on maple, which has been designed to comply with the requirements of the Ministère québécois de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports). In addition to this program, the FPAQ has created an instructive interactive activity for elementary school students in Quebec.
The program offers two workshops in a teacher's guide format:
- Maple groves, environmental treasure troves. Focusing on the notion of maple groves as environmental treasures and natural heritage sites that need protecting, this workshop invites students to explore the unique and special nature of maple groves so they can examine the possibility of recommending them as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Teachers are invited to send the results of their students' analysis to the FPAQ.
- You are what you eat! Exploring the theme of identity in relation to the food culture of various eras and geographic regions, students are invited to examine the contribution of maple to our history and food culture, as well as those of others. This workshop reveals how and why maple went from a subsistence product in colonial times (as sugar) to a symbol of Quebec and Canadian identity (as syrup).
The two teaching guides are available for download free of charge at http://siropcool.ca/encyclopedie/fr/pour-les-profs.php
Culturally important to Quebec's identity, heritage and food
To complement these educational workshops, the FPAQ has created a fun and educational animated activity with Professor Owl and a maple syrup producer. The interactive activity has been offered free of charge to 15 primary schools across Quebec as a pilot project. It allows elementary school students from major centres and regions to live the maple experience, which includes the origin of maple products, sugaring season, maple water tasting, the different grades of maple syrup, and insight into maple harvesting and production. This first year of the project will be used to adapt the activity to different schools and students, so it can then be offered to a larger number of schools.
Serge Beaulieu, president of the FPAQ, explains, "In short, our teaching project will raise awareness among Quebec's youth of the importance of our maple forests and their role in terms of culture, identity and food heritage.'' Geneviève Béland, Director of Promotion, Innovation and Market Development, adds, "Maple products have left their mark over the centuries, from maple water enjoyed by First Nations people in spring, to the myriad of products on offer today. Maple is now regarded as an internationally recognized symbol of the region, as olive oil is to Mediterranean countries. Our new guides are designed to encourage students to really think about how maple groves contribute to our identity and unique heritage. We will be very interested to see the results that the students and teachers can share with us. This collective discussion on the characteristics and criteria that make maple groves unique environments may enable us to recognize maple groves as UNESCO World Heritage sites."
A national treasure in need of protection
As part of responsible environmental stewardship and the fight against climate change, the FPAQ commissioned an environmental assessment study from Quantis consultants. The results revealed that mature maple forests may constitute large reservoirs of carbon and help regulate the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These forests can be preserved through maple syrup production because maple producers have to maintain a healthy forest. In 2013, 120 million pounds of maple syrup were produced from maple groves managed by Quebec maple syrup producers. Based on a preliminary analysis, these maple groves could store up to 137,000 megatonnes of carbon.1 As a comparison, the potential for temporary storage of carbon from these forests corresponds to a mature maple forest covering an area equivalent to four times the size of the Island of Montreal. This area represents just 14% of the potential number of exploitable hectares in Quebec in 2013.2
The Federation would like to thank the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec for their financial support.
About the FPAQ and Les Produits d'érable du Québec
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers defends and promotes the economic, social and moral interests of Quebec maple syrup businesses and develops initiatives to collectively market their products. The quality work of the FPAQ and its 7,300 members has made Quebec the proud source of 80% of the world's maple syrup. Les Produits d'érable du Québec is the brand the FPAQ has developed to promote authentic maple products from Quebec.
1 According to data from the USDA (1992), maple forests have a carbon stock equivalent to 165,000 lb. per acre (184,938 kg of carbon per hectare). It is estimated that a hectare of maple forest contains between 200 and 225 taps and that 43 million taps were in operation in Quebec in 2013.
2 The area of exploitable maple forest in Quebec in 2013 represented approximately 1.5 million hectares.
SOURCE: Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers
For further information:
Promotions and Communications Agent
Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers
450 679-0540, ext. 8609
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