Sunday Science: Community Maple Project - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sunday Science: Community Maple Project

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When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag.

"I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property," says operations manager David St. Onge, "but that doesn't stop us, not having any maple trees."

Instead, they started the Community Maple project, inviting people to come to workshops, tap the trees in their yards, and bring the sap to this mobile sugar shack for processing.

"We have many people who just have one or two trees that would certainly be difficult to make any syrup at home. And they just tap their trees and bring us the sap and they get syrup in the end, it's all canned and ready to go," he says.

Half of the syrup is returned to them, the other half is sold in the center's store or used as gifts to support the community project. And school groups can come through and learn the science behind how maple is turned from sap into syrup.

Reporter: "When the kids come through here, what's their reaction? Have a lot of them seen sugar shacks before?"

St. Onge: "A lot of them haven't seen sugar shacks before, but we do a program at the elementary school, and we go there and we give maple education, and then we get the kids dressed up and we get them outside and we tap the maple trees on the school property. And then they get a chance to come here and see how the maple syrup is made and sample the maple syrup. They get all excited."

The center says what it all boils down to is when people are directly involved in the process, they're more inclined to learn about how something is made and care about where it comes from.

"It was a really good fit for the museum because we try to connect people with nature, and what better way to connect people with nature than maple syrup," he says.

And coming up in a couple weeks, you can celebrate New York's Maple Weekend at the Wild Center, on March 22 and 23.

For more information about the Wild Center's Community Maple project, visit: https://wildcenter.org/tap

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