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Maple Syrup Club seeks tapping approval

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The Maple Syrup Club in session

The Maple Syrup Club in session

Adriana Eldred

Adriana Eldred

The Maple Syrup Club in session

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According to Vermont.gov, Vermont produces 47 percent of the country’s maple syrup products. This may be why the Maple Syrup Club is the newest addition to the campus’s club selection.

Junior Heidi Serrano initially conceived this club. “We were all sitting around, having breakfast like always,” she says. “We were having the school’s maple syrup and found out that it wasn’t real maple syrup.” Although it began as a joke, one thing led to another, and Maple Syrup Club was born.

Serrano said the goal is to produce maple syrup. While they’ve received some skepticism from others, Serrano and her team of over 10 are already putting together fundraisers, club activities and educational elements to make their goal obtainable.

With the money they raise, they hope to buy equipment and supplies and eventually begin sugaring. Butternut Farms, a local operation, is allowing the club to take a tour, and Edson Jones, a maintenance worker, is letting them volunteer at his home-operated sugaring business. They will also be attending the Vermont Maple Open House weekend in St. Albans.

“We’re trying to get the approval from the head of maintenance right now,” Serrano says. “It looks like it’s going pretty good, so if he gives us the approval we can probably start tapping trees when maple season starts in March.”

To further enrich their quest, the club will be exploring the nearby forest to learn how to identify healthy, tap-worthy maple trees. “As a club, we’re going to go out to the woods and make a density data chart of where all the trees are, how many trees we have, what type of maple trees we have on campus, and from there we are going to pick which ones we’re going to tap,” says Serrano. “We just want to go out there and have fun. None of us really knows how to sugar, so it’s a good way to learn by doing.”

Curiosity seems to be a common element in attracting members to the club. “I hope to gain a wealth of knowledge of the maple syrup industry, and what the process is,” club treasurer David Albright says. “It’s so rich in tradition in this part of the world. I am looking forward to seeing how the club actually grows as a club itself.”

The club’s vice president, Seth Knight, looks forward to the point when they can begin production. “I look forward to just going out in the woods, actually tapping trees, doing fun activities in which we learn about the culture of Vermont related to the maple syrup industry,” Knight says.

While the club already has a solid number of people, Serrano believes their numbers are soon to grow. “I have a feeling it’s going to end up being big, probably one of the biggest clubs on campus, and one of the most successful clubs on campus,” Serrano says.

Another facet of the club that sets it apart, aside from its goal, is its structure. “We’re not like your typical club that meets in a classroom. Today . . . we’ll be going into the woods and identifying trees, we’re going to be taking tours, we’re going to be out and about. We’re never really going to be indoors,” Serrano says.

The club also meets when needed, which may not be every week, keeping students’ busy schedules in mind.

For more information, contact Serrano via Heidi.Serrano@jsc.edu.

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Maple Syrup Club seeks tapping approval