Monday, February 18, 2013

First week and tapping trees

** Summer programs announced. Visit our Programs page for details. 
We also have kids long sleeve t-shirts for sale ($20, proceeds support scholarship).
Email me to buy one.

Last week was our first week of programs for the spring. We had a wonderful time exploring the land, meeting new friends, and reconnecting with old ones. We started our Field School program as we always do, by building a fire. This time around had such a different, magical feel to it. Everyone immediately broke off into groups to get all the materials we needed - little twigs, big sticks, birch bark slivers, material for a tinder bundle. It was great to see so much cooperation. Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this.

With our Wednesday and Thursday Field School program split into smaller groups and went for wanders to find a tree that caught our eye and that we wanted to tap. We looked for large healthy trees that were at least a foot in diameter. We also wanted to tap the south side of the tree, which has the most sun exposure and might produce the most sap flow.

My one rule with tapping trees is anything but sugar maple. With that in mind, we tapped:
  • bitternut hickory
  • white ash
  • white birch
  • yellow birch
  • striped maple
  • big-toothed aspen
So for our programs this year, that brings our total up to 17 different species! A couple weeks ago we tapped 13 species with the Earth Skills Seminar. For the other species see my posting on the Wild Burlington blog.

After tapping trees, we went to a white pine that had been cut down over the summer to get a great look at the difference between heartwood (darker color above, dead part of tree where waste products are stored) and the sapwood (lighter part oozing sap, living part of xylem). 

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