RFS

Student working with injured bird

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Sugaring Program

Before the Field Station became what it is today, it was a working farm, complete with a smokehouse, fields, and a sugar maple grove. Continuing the century old tradition on the field station property, students, alumni, community members, staff and faculty head out each spring to tap the trees and make their own maple syrup.

On average the station produces about 1800 gallons of sap water each season, or approximately 60 gallons of pure, grade A maple syrup. This syrup is given away to alumni, students, faculty, and the volunteers . . . the syrup which survives the initial onslaught of waffles and hungry workers at the station that is! The sugar water is harvested using two methods. Many of the trees are tapped the same way that they were back when the Grove family owned the land, by individual buckets hung on the trunks. Some of the sugar groves, however, are tapped with more modern methodology. All of these trees are connected to plastic tubing which channels the sap water into collecting buckets at the bottom of the field station's many ridges.

“The syrupping operation gives students a wonderful opportunity to escape from the pressures of campus for a day to trudge around in the snow and mud. It's a wonderful way to relax with friends on a weekend. Oh, and then there's always the waffle binges . . . that doesn't need explaining." --Brian Olsen, Former president of the Juniata Sapsuckers

Sugaring ... is not really a commercial operation. It is that happiest of combinations, a commercial affair which is also an annual rite, even an act of love. --Noel Perrin