Friday, February 8, 2019

A Chilly but Sweet Day at Fenner

Teachers and students were excited to return to ABNL this week after school was cancelled twice due to two snow days, beginning their day with a belly full of Michigan-made products served up by reWired teachers Jan Derksen and Stephanie Knapp. Emily Simowski and Stacy Baum's infectious enthusiasm inspired their third graders to brave the icy winds that blew the snow sideways as they tapped maple trees for sap to make maple syrup at Fenner Nature Center

This class, from Elliot Elementary School in Holt, was the first group to tap the trees at Fenner this season! Jenny Mensch taught students about the work it takes to make syrup: first a spigot (or spile) is placed in the tree and the sap will flow freely into a bucket. Then, the sap is collected and heated til the sap is boiled down. It takes 40 buckets of sap to make just one bucket of syrup! Then, it's a natural sweetener and the secret ingredient in my Great Aunt Alice's chocolate chip cookies. Contact Margaret for the recipe!

ReWired teachers Jan Derksen and Stephanie Knapp greeted students with materials to make a pure-Michigan breakfast. 

Ingredients included pancake mix from Chelsea, yogurt from Reed City, milk from Grand Rapids, and many others! 

The truly inspiring Emily and Stacy taught by example: sometimes a positive attitude is the secret ingredient to the resilience it takes to enjoy nature's sweetness. 

 Jenny Mensch teaches how to tap the maples to pull the sweetness to make maple syrup.

The Winds of the Maple

When the wind’s in the west

The sap runs the best
When the wind’s in the north
The sap runs forth
When the wind’s in the south
The sap runs drouth
When the wind’s in the east
Sap runs least