🐾 Kristal Ramirez & Kyle Chase, from Pine Valley CSD win the first ever Maple Innovation Contest. 🍁
The team competed in the contest as part of their AFNR (Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources) class. The two will be splitting the $250 prize money for their solution to squirrel damage in sugar bushes. Their metal sleeve design is placed over plastic lines to deter critters that chew for the sweet sap. Congrats to both of you! 🤩
Background: Sweet, delicious maple syrup is made from boiling sap collected from maple trees. Unlike farmers who purposely use an open space to plant crops, orchards, or raise and feed animals, maple syrup producers use the forest to harvest sap. A maple producer does not have maple trees planted in straight rows like an apple farmer might with their apple trees, and they do not have a fence around their area of forest they tap to deter predators like you might with animals. There are many challenges to making maple syrup, but one big problem a maple producer has to combat are wild animals or rodents making holes in their maple tubing they use to collect sap. Every year, maple producers have to check their tubing lines for animal damage and spend time and money to fix the damaged sections. Student Challenge Design and propose a solution to protect and/or deter animal impacts on a maple sugarbush. Students should explore various materials, systems, and/or resources that a maple producer could purchase or implement to stop or significantly reduce the replacement of tubing.