Courtesy of Waldo County Technical Center

BELFAST — Students at Waldo County Technical Center were able to reap the sweet rewards of tree tapping in the Outdoor Leadership program early this spring. 

WCTC’s educational technician Jon Cox taps trees on his own property and exclusively uses maple syrup as a sweetener. He wondered if there were any tappable trees on the tech center’s property. After an extensive search of the woods on campus, he found some red maples right in front of the school.  

Cox explained the process to the Outdoor Leadership students and discovered that not only had none of the students ever tapped trees before, more than half the students had never tasted real maple syrup.  

Red maple sap is not as sweet as sugar maple sap, but nonetheless, the students were able to harvest enough sap to boil down into maple syrup. They set up cinder blocks on the lawn of the school, got some wood scraps from the building construction program and evaporated the sap that way. They then finished it in the culinary program’s kitchen.  

The end product was poured over French vanilla ice cream. When asked if the students liked it, Cox replied, “They came back for more!”