As we go about our daily lives here in Erie,it’s easy to lose sight of what makes our area so special. Some say there are five seasons in Erie – spring, summer, fall, winter, and sugaring season! Being part of the Great Lakes Region means we have the right “ingredients” to make maple syrup. Beyond the fact that the tree that yields the highest concentration of sugar only grows in this region, we also experience just the right temperature changes in late winter/early spring (cold nights and warm days) to keep that sap flowing and filling our buckets.
As an educational facility, the core purpose of Asbury Woods is to educate people of all ages about northwest Pennsylvania’s unique and diverse habitats and natural resources and sugaring season is no exception. Developments in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are growing faster than ever, and there is a clear need to find engaging ways to teach lessons in these subjects grounded in real-world experience. We believe that the natural world offers a compelling and universal context for investigations and applications of many STEM concepts. We call this approach E-STEM (adding “environment” to STEM), and it encourages bringing environmental topics and discussions into STEM lessons already established within a school’s curriculum. Maple Sugaring provides the perfect unit of study for
delivering our E-STEM curriculum. Through our hands-on program, students not only learn the science behind how trees produce sugar but also the technology. Students learn to extract this sweet substance; the engineering involved in the machinery used to boil the sap, and the math to calculate the number of gallons of syrup yielded from the number of gallons of sap that were collected.
In addition, sugaring season is the time for our annual Maple Festival which has become a family tradition in Erie. During this year’s Maple Festival at Asbury Woods, guests will be guided on a tour of the maple trees and learn about the production of maple syrup. The tour is not only a chance to visit our maple forest and tap a tree, but also to take a step back in time as we experience the history of maple production from Native American times to the present. The tour also includes a visit to the sugar shack to see the sap turning to syrup. As you think about what makes living in Erie special we hope you won’t forget about the family traditions and the celebrations of all the seasons. Please consider joining us this year for our Maple Festival and help us celebrate the sweetest season in Erie!
From the Woods,
Asbury Woods Partnership, Inc.