Warmer-than-seasonal weather has not only made those who hate to shovel snow happy, but it’s also gotten the sap to rise early in maple trees. Recently students in the Saugerties High School Eco Club began tapping maple trees on school property as part of a project to turn the sap into sweet-tasting syrup.
Club advisor Mike Cooper said the trees have begun to produce sap in the warm weather. Club members collect the sap, but rather than using the more traditional metal or plastic buckets to collect the sugary treat, they have been using plastic bags, which, students say, “work great.”
After the sap is collected, most of the water is boiled off. The syrup is bottled and then sold by the students to help support the activities of the club. Last year, students tapped 16 trees and made 1000 bottles of syrup. This year they are tapping 20 trees. If the amount of sap that’s running is any indicator, they should have well more than 1000 bottles to sell this year.
Cooper said the trees being tapped aren’t the traditional sugar maple tree used for syrup, but silver maples. The syrup is lighter and more mild the syrup made from other maples.