Inspiring people of all ages and all abilities to respect, protect,
and enjoy the world of nature.
Heartland Forest started with Dan Bouwman and his beautiful granddaughter, Sydney Burciul. The daughter of Jacqueline and Ken Burciul, Sydney was born with a rare brain disorder, Lissencephaly. As result of her adversities, Dan was determined to provide a peaceful, accessible and inclusive place to enjoy nature. With a mandate of preservation, education and accessibility, Heartland Forest opened in 2004. Over the years, Dan’s dedication has led to the Heartland Forest of today and the beauty that it reveals to its guests. Sydney’s disability eventually led to her passing on October 28th, 2009.
Even though Sydney is no longer with us, her energy and her beauty will always shine at Heartland. Her legacy burns bright in our hearts and motivates us to grow more and more every year. In her memory, our trails, scenic areas and outdoor learning centers are free and open to the public year-round as a natural gift to our community.
We are proud to say that Heartland is a place cherished by many. And it all started with one man and his vision.