Tapping 33 Trees and Making Traditional Spiles

Today was an amazing day! Not only did the weather cooperate, the students had an awesome time. Sixth and eight grade students were teamed with a seventh grade captain to form Tree Teams. Each team went to the woods to tap their sugar maple that the seventh grade students flagged before break. Students and teachers drilled holes in the trees then inserted and gently tapped their spiles in while assembling their sap collecting gear. Ten teams used metal spiles with blue buckets that hang on the spiles, which the school received from Tap My Tree. Eighteen teams used a smaller tap with tubing connected to it that ran down through a whole in the top of a food grade white bucket, with Hegedorns Market providing the buckets and WoodWise Land Company providing the taps and tubing. Four more trees were tapped on the drive into school so families can check out the fun that we are having.

After the big tapping, students learned about traditional spiles and the evaporation process from forester Pat Sadler from WoodWise. Each seventh grade science student received a piece of sumac to hollow out the soft pith and make into their own spile, which is one of the original ways Native Americans collected sap. Hopefully some students will tap a tree at home to do their own maple sugaring with their family.

Students were able to collect over twelve gallons of sap in just four hours. At this rate we should be able to reach our goal of over 200 gallons of sap within the week. This may sound like a lot of sap, but it takes about 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to make just one gallon of syrup!

Please enjoy a very short clip of students making their sumac spiles as they listen to Pat talk about the upcoming evaporation day.


About bguzzetta

I am a middle school math and science teacher at Allendale Columbia School. Technology and the outdoors are integral parts of my curriculum. I love outdoor activities, which I enjoy with my family. I have always felt that students should be exposed to global research, and am very excited to be bringing this to my students with the support of school. Therefore, I have embarked on a journey that includes a collaboration between myself, the Seneca Park Zoo, the Smithsonian Institute, and National Geographic's photographer David Liittschwager. Sports have always been part of my life, and I am the current Girls Vice President for the Rochester District Youth Soccer League.
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