Many students joined in last weekend’s first campus-wide maple sugaring effort as a way to enjoy the outdoors while making tasty maple syrup.

This was the second weekend during which maple sugaring took place at Hamilton as part of an independent study in environmental studies created by Hannah Katz ’21 and Asha Grossberndt ’21. Unique to this weekend, however, was that any student could help out. The maple sugaring team started the weekend with 20 gallons of sap, which they boiled down all day Saturday until they were left with 42 ounces of syrup.

The boil this weekend was overseen by Katz, Grossberndt, and Makayla Spicer ’22, and run by students who had signed up to be core members. One member, Eva Hays ’24, had always wanted to do maple sugaring. “When I was in kindergarten I went on a field trip and I saw it done, so it’s always been something that’s interesting to me,” she said. “I feel like Hamilton has so many great opportunities like this to get involved in the outdoors, and I definitely want to capitalize on that. … I don’t know what other school gives you the opportunity to do this.”

While Katz and Grossbernt decided on the maple sugaring independent study, it is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Aaron Strong who has helped them along the way. “[Maple sugaring] connects to place … for millennia, people have been making maple syrup. People like it, it’s sweet, it tastes good, but it also connects to the land here. We didn’t plant [these trees], it’s not a crop in that sense, it’s actually harvesting food from what’s growing here, and I think that’s pretty special.”

Maple sugaring will continue for a few more weeks. For anyone interested in participating or learning more about maple sugaring, watch for a campus wide email in the coming days.

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