THOMASTON — Fourth and fifth grade students at Thomaston Grammar School recently tried their hand at maple sugaring. To kick off the month of March, kids tapped six maple trees on school property. Sap was collected for several days and then boiled down in Lynn Snow’s classroom kitchen. In the end, all students and several staff members got to taste test the results.

Students learned that it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make a single gallon of syrup. They were instructed on some ways to identify maple trees in the wintertime. Additionally, students discovered a tree needs to be a minimum size to tap it and big trees can support more than one tap. Much of the student learning was through the New Hampshire Agriculture in the Classroom maple sugaring lessons available online. Topics such as using reverse osmosis to reduce water content, measuring sap density with a hydrometer, and the temperature where sap becomes syrup were all taught in the classroom. The best temperature conditions for sap to run — cold nights and warm days — were also a topic discussed.

Rockland Home Depot provided the school with five gallon buckets and covers to collect their sap. A Georges River Education Foundation (GREF) grant allowed for the purchase of related books and the provisions for the kids to enjoy a pancake breakfast in celebration of their successful tapping.