Our immersion into the world of tree identification continued last week as we explored the beautiful Big Leaf Maple!
Our story was about Moon Bird and Running Deer’s attempt to make Maple syrup to enjoy with their Cattail pancakes. First they tried making syrup with the pitch of a Douglas Fir tree, but they were left with a gooey, gluey tar-like mess! Luckily Douglina the Squirrel came along and taught them about Big Leaf Maple and how to make delicious syrup using the sap of the tree!
Pat and I thought it would be cool if the Fox Walkers had the opportunity to see what a Big Leaf Maple syrup tap looked like, and it just so happens that we had spotted taps in the park during a past adventure. A couple of Big Leaf Maples had apparently been tapped by some local syrup enthusiasts quite some time ago, and the spiles and sap collecting cans had been left behind— who knows how long ago! So we brought the Fox Walkers over to examine them. The sap collecting cans were not filled with any sap, unfortunately, because its been so warm lately! In order for the sap to flow, our nighttime temperatures need to be below freezing while daytime temperatures are above freezing. We’ll have to to check back again if we get another cold spell!
Some other highlights of last week’s classes include: popping popcorn over the fire and adding bit of maple syrup to it (yummy!), playing Owl Eye (a sneaky hiding game), nibbling on licorice fern root (which loves to grown on Big Leaf Maple!), tasting the young leaves of Indian Plum (spring is coming!), taking down our shelter to build a bigger one for our growing crew of students, and enjoying a little bit of sunshine!