Today was such a gorgeous day. It's not spring quite yet, but we can all feel it coming! We had a BIG day of running around the sugarbush and fields - probably all that energy the sun gave us!
We started off with some free play until everyone arrived. We've been loving climbing around on a pile of sticks near the clubhouse and started turning it into a fort. One of our friends brought his coin book to Forest Classroom to share with everyone! Once everyone arrived, we began our first activity: searching for maple 'leaves' (colorful, laminated leaves) hidden around the woods behind the clubhouse.
Once we found all of the maple leaves, we settled into snack and a story around a fire. We read a book about maple sugaring to prep us for a day all about maple!
After snack, our bodies were nourished and energized. So, we used this energy to run the Sap or Syrup relay. This relay involves lots of laminated photos that either have to do with a tree's sap production or how humans make maple syrup (Ex. photo of green maple leaves is sap production and a photo of a sap bucket would be syrup production). We all started shoulder to shoulder with a photo in our hands and needed to decide if we should run it to the sap bucket or the tree bucket.
Once we ran out of photos to run, we grabbed both buckets and sat down to go through the photos to make sure they ended up in the right spot. We had such a great conservation about what sap is made of and how trees make sugar through photosynthesis. A few photos stumped us, like one of snowshoes. Some asked what do snowshoes have to do with anything? We explained that sometimes snowshoes are the best footwear when tapping or gathering because the snow is so deep! So, snowshoes allow humans to make syrup more efficiently.
After the relay, we tapped a tree right next to the clubhouse so that we can check on the sap production each week and maybe even try to boil some of it down (although that can take upwards of 6 hours...).
Then, we left our bucket hanging to start on yet another fun maple activity: maple bingo! This year the interns and I made several ways to engage with Audubon Vermont during sugaring season in lieu of our annual Sugar on Snow party where we invite the community to our sugarbush for fun, food and exploration. One of these games is maple bingo! It was made to be done anywhere whether you live in the woods or in the city. Luckily for us, we had a real sugarbush to complete our maple bingo in. This bingo acts more as a scavenger hunt and then as you find items you cross them off until you win! The bingo board took us all over the sugarbush from the woods to the sugarhouse to our trusty tractor.
We had a blast searching all around the sugarbush and won bingo! It made us pretty tired so we had lunch out in the sunny field and listened to a story.
Lastly, we went for a little hike along the river to beaver pond because a coworker shared that he found some ermine tracks! We ended up finding a section of deer fur along the river bank and speculated what might have happened. It was very cool!
Once we got back to the clubhouse, we had just enough time to take turns trying our sap! Then, it was time to go! We'll see you next week.