The sugaring project was organized and carried out by a group of dedicated Bennington students, aided and abetted by science technician David Norman. Around 20 trees were tapped in the maple grove behind Jenning’s Music Building at the beginning of March. The sap was collected and boiled every weekend for over a month at the college’s own sugar shack, dubbed SAPA (Shack for the Advanced Production of Acer glucose). Boiling would go all day and through the night, with sugarers sleeping out at the shack, sometimes for several nights in a row.
Though there was a main group of students that did most of the work, they received help from various facets of the college and greater community. The Bennington Sustainable Food Project held meetings there, and will be working with the sugarers to create a how-to guide for students who want to do the project in the future. The sugaring operation also drew in various community members, passersby, and even some kids! Dream (Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure and Mentoring), a program that pairs student mentors with children from the community, came by on Friday afternoons to lend and hand and to try some of the syrup.
Overall, the sugaring operation this year was a great achievement that will hopefully provide a successful model for students who would like to do it in the future. Congratulations to the people who put in so much effort to make this project happen. I tried some of the syrup, and there are not words to describe how superb it is. There will be a pancake breakfast happening soon, so keep an eye out for the date.
SAPA will be taken down on Sunday, April 10th. All helping hands will be greatly appreciated.
(Photos Courtesy of Holly Meyers)