by Katie Wolpert
In most recent years the winter months bring a pause in our programming as we wait for milder conditions and the return of our seasonal staff. This winter one of our long-time staff instructors is sticking it out up on the mountain to implement an exciting new program designed specifically for these winter months: Maple in the Classroom.
Created in partnership with the WV Maple Syrup Producers Association, Maple in the Classroom will match a class or school with a local maple producer. Experience Learning’s Kate Fotos will design an age-appropriate curriculum that introduces the art and science of maple syrup production through demonstrations, experiments and interdisciplinary hands-on activities. The local producer will then come to the school and help each class tap at least three maple trees in the schoolyard or on a nearby property.
The class will be responsible for collecting they sap which they may then trade with their producer-partner for the appropriate amount of finished syrup. The class will have the option to visit the producer’s sugarbush as well, to see the full-scale equipment and operations.
From Fotos’ perspective this program is an exciting way to “mix science, math, and food with being outside in the woods.” Connecting kids with a local individual who harvests a forest product in a non-extractive way is also a very appealing part of Maple in the Classroom to Fotos.
She expects that the curricula developed for the older grades will integrate maple into a larger picture of forestry industries beyond timber. “I’m excited about the whole thing but I’m also a bit of a science nerd,” Fotos admits, “and I think it is going to be enticing to kids to combine the science and industry with the sweet and delicious maple syrup.”
If you are interested in bringing Maple in the Classroom to your school, please contact us Kate directly by calling 304-567-2644 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org soon! More information + contact details can be found here.