Day 4 description -
Today, we went to Shelburne farms to learn about maple sugaring and about how they are sustainable. We met Peter who acted as our guide for the day and we talked about how maple syrup is made. After sitting and discussing that for awhile we set out on our hike. We saw different signs of animals and talked about how they affected maples. We learned that small rodents like to eat the seeds and buds of maples and without predators to hunt them, our maples would die out. After a long walk, we came across a tree stump of a fallen tree. Peter told us that if the ground gets to wet and soggy (like from Hurricane Irene) the trees can be pushed over by wind very easily. This can cause the pipes that carry the maple sap to break. After talking about this, we went back to eat lunch. After lunch, we went back out and tapped a tree after much talking about how size and age affects the sugaring. Once that was done, we went back in and finished the story of how syrup is made. It is first in the form of a seedling, then a sapling, then a juvenile, and finally an adult tree. Once the tree is an adult, it can produce seeds and the process can continue. However, once the tree is an adult, we can sugar the tree, and once the tree dies, new trees are ready to be tapped. This makes the system sustainable.