It sure has been a crazy start to the maple sugaring year! The weather was up and down, but never up or down long enough to get the sap moving, so we put off tapping but the students were getting antsy. They finally convinced Mrs. Guzzetta to tap one tree to monitor the week before February break.
Needless to say, we barely collected any sap that week, but the weather forecast for break was drastically different and we knew that we were in for a good week so we tapped a few more. Once the vacation week began, the weather got balmy, and the sap started flowing fast and furious. Two eighth grade club leaders came in one day to help tap more trees for a total of about thirty taps. A third club leader, a veteran of three years, was a big help as he came in twice, once with his cousins, to collect the sap that was flowing.
Even with their help, Mrs. Guzzetta was kept busy collecting once or twice a day in order to stay on top of the flow as it appeared that the season was going to be short. By the end of the week we had about 80 gallons in storage and another 15 or so lost to accidental spills or ants.
When the students came back from break, their collecting started back up on a more regular basis. A couple of students were able to help out during their Citizen Science project time as their project pertained to our maple sugaring project, and others stopped in to collect when they could. One of Mrs. Guzzetta’s sixth grade advisees organized the other advisees and collected during advocacy. During this time, the students had their first encounter with a sugar hungry chipmunk who was found patiently sitting in a bucket of sap waiting for the students to rescue him.
Mike Wheeler, whose son is a leader in the maple sugaring club, coordinated with Mrs. Guzzetta and happily volunteered his time, resources, and knowledge to work with some of the club members to build a sugar shack. He oversaw the club members as they sawed, drilled, hammered, and constructed their very first sugar shack that they will reconstruct each year during the sugaring season. This is a huge upgrade from their pop up shelter with no walls that provided minimal protection from the elements. More on this exciting project coming soon.
Posted in: Highlights, Kid Kudos, Middle School
Due to it being such a cold and snowy winter, we were not able to tap the maple trees until now. So, with drills, buckets, and taps in hand, the eighty Allendale Columbia Middle School students plus teachers and Pat Sadler from WoodWise Land Management ventured out into the twenty degree weather on Saint Patrick’s Day to tap over thirty trees on campus. Excitement filled the air despite the lack of green outdoors!
The weather forecast is looking very good for a run of sap in the coming weeks with predictions of upper 30s to 40s during the day and 20s at night. Perfect weather! Stay tuned for updates on our adventures.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
The seventh grade students at Allendale Columbia School shared their knowledge and expertise about maple sugaring with eager third grade students. Each seventh grade student was partnered with a third grade buddy to talk about the process then escorted them to the woods on campus, so they could tap their own sugar maple trees. This partnership has been named “Adopt a Tree,” and science teacher Beth Guzzetta is thrilled to have her class strengthen their understanding about maple sugaring by teaching Peggy Hellebush’s younger students. The Middle School students look forward to helping the Lower School students as they embark on this once in a lifetime collaborative journey.
Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Seventh Grade, Third Grade
The sixth grade students enjoyed the annual Pi Day celebration on March 14th (3.14) with a competition to see who could recite the most digits of pi. After finding where their birthday first occurs in pi, students used a website to memorize the digits of pi by “chunking” it into smaller groups of numbers. Within the week, many students had memorized the first thirty to forty digits. However, Liza Cotter put her memorization skills to the test and rose to the challenge by memorizing the first 137 digits of pi, which made her the new Middle School Pi Champion! Congratulations Liza and all of the other sixth grade students.
To make the day even more complete, and to celebrate the kick off of the maple sugaring project, the kitchen staff made maple sugar pies using the maple syrup from last year’s project. They were delicious and appreciated by all of the students, faculty, and staff. What a great way to celebrate Pi Day and start the maple sugaring project!
Posted in: Kid Kudos, Lower School, Middle School