Warming temperatures and budding trees on campus signal the beginning of spring and the end of the maple sugaring season. Last weekend marked the final boil of the season as Hamilton students spent all day Saturday reducing 60 gallons of sap into just over a gallon of syrup.

Hannah Katz ’21 and Asha Grossberndt ’21 made this final weekend of sugaring special by throwing their very own Maple Festival in the Glen House backyard. The festival included maple syrup tasting, yard games, and raffles for bottles of syrup.

“This season of sugaring went extremely well,” Grossberndt said. “Throughout the five boils, we had about 130 people involved in the process. Although some might have known about the process of producing maple syrup before this semester, a large portion of them were learning it for the first time, and that’s something to be excited about.”

This project was the result of Grossberndt’s and Katz’s independent study for environmental studies. After completing the experiential portion of the study, Grossberndt said, “The biggest takeaway that I saw from conversations with people at the boils is a shock at how much time, sap, and labor go into making maple syrup. I’m grateful for having been able to share this incredible experience with so many people on campus.”

One of the most compelling things about this project was engaging students. “My favorite part [of sugaring] has been spending time outside and meeting new people,” said Leah Croke ’24. “It’s great that we’re taking advantage of the maple trees that we have right here on campus to make syrup.” While this year has been one filled with COVID restrictions and safety precautions, maple sugaring has allowed Hamilton students to get involved in a fun, safe, and community-based project without leaving College Hill.

In total, the maple sugaring team produced two-and-a-half gallons of maple syrup from 165 gallons of sap over the course of five weeks. Grossberndt and Katz each reiterated that none of this would have been possible without the Hamilton students who came to help throughout the season.

The maple sugaring team plans on hosting a pancake breakfast this weekend — featuring their very own maple syrup, of course. To sign up, watch for an email later this week.

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