Schoolyard Sugaring Contest ramps up

Classrooms across the state are learning how to make maple syrup using science, math, and other subjects


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The second annual Schoolyard Sugaring Contest uses science, social studies, math, and English to teach students how to make maple syrup.

Students will learn everything from collecting sap and boiling it into maple syrup to the history behind this time-honored New York State tradition. In 2017, the first year of the Contest, 103 classrooms participated, engaging over 2,400 students.

The contest is presented by the nonprofit New York State Maple Foundation in partnership with the New York Agriculture in the Classroom Program

Finished maple syrup for each division (elementary, middle school and high school) will be scored for taste, clarity, and color by a panel of maple experts this May. The syrup with the highest score in each division wins a $250 prize. Last year’s winners include Wells Central School’s third grade class that paired with County Cabin Maple Syrup in Hamilton County, Attica Middle School that paired with A+A Maple in Wyoming County, and Stockbridge Valley FFA led by Ms. Erin McCaffrey in Madison County.

A photo contest is also planned. 2017 winners were Sauquoit Valley, Malone Middle School, and OCM BOCES.

Delaware Academy was one of the schools that participated in the 2017 Contest.

Delaware Academy teacher Mark Kline said, “The students learned actively. There are many science, mathematics, and technology concepts related to making maple syrup that the students learned.”

Each registered classroom receives grade-specific lessons, a book on maple sugaring, and an official contest Taste the Tradition™ maple half-pint jug donated by Sugarhill Container, a division of Hillside Plastics, to package their finished product. Sign-ups for the 2018 contest continue through February 14. The Maple Foundation is pairing any classroom that signs-up and requests assistance with a maple farmer in their area.

Michelle Barber, a teacher at Attica Central School said, “My high school students gained so much leadership experience during the Schoolyard Sugaring project. Watching this group grow during the project has been amazing.”

The project is funded in part through a grant from Farm Credit East’s AgEnhancement program. Other funding is provided by maple producers that use Taste the Tradition branded syrup jugs, purchased through local maple sugaring supply dealers.

For more information NYAITC director Katie Carpenter at kse45@cornell.edu.



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