MEXICO – Students in the Project Explore program at the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation are working hard to reap sweet rewards of their maple syrup unit.
Both AM and PM participants have spent the last several weeks tapping trees under the direction of KC Jones, alternative education teacher.
Jones said students will learn about the syrup’s production from how to tap trees at least 10 inches in diameter, how a freeze at night and thaw during the day keeps sap coming, collection of sap, pouring of sap into a wood-burning evaporator so it boils and separates water from the sugar.
The process takes place behind CiTi’s Mexico campus, where there is an abundance of sugar maple trees on the property.
A short walk into the woods leads to the sugar shack where the evaporation process occurs.
Jones said students also learn about reverse osmosis and how to remove excess water from sap before it is boiled.
Jones said approximately 30 gallons of maple syrup is expected to be produced.
Andrew Ives, a sophomore at Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square, said his favorite part of the process thus far has been riding the tractor into the woods and learning how to drill a sugar maple tree at the proper angle, which helps drain sap.
The hands-on learning experience will culminate in April when Project Explore students team up with the Culinary Arts Career and Technical Education students to host a pancake breakfast.
Each student from Project Explore will get to take a bottle of their maple syrup home.
Maple syrup will also be on sale for CiTi faculty and staff.