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Maple sugaring

Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack hosted another successful season of maple sugaring for families, scout troops and nature enthusiasts. This unique educational program, available to the general public, teaches the ancient process of making maple syrup/sugar, which was passed down by the Native Americans to the Colonists.

The maple sugaring program is a demonstration, encompassing the history of Native American early life, how maple sugaring was originally discovered, all the way up to present day, the equipment now used and how anyone can tap a tree to make maple syrup or sugar in their own backyards. An interactive portion of the program enlists the help of younger students to teach the anatomy of the tree, the importance of chlorophyll, and the role of photosynthesis in making maple syrup.

“I can’t tell you how special this program is… it is one that every Long Islander should partake in at some point in life, as it is a part of our history that should be treasured for all time. I am so grateful to Sheryl Brook and Jeff Gumin for continuing in the tradition of passing this demonstration down to the generations. I love their passion and genuine enthusiasm which shines through the work they do every day,” said Supervisor Edward R. Wehrheim.

The Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve maple sugaring program is unique in that Black Walnut trees are also tapped for sugaring, in addition to making maple syrup from Maple trees. Maple sugaring season is approximately three weeks out of the year. In order to produce the sweetest sap, weather conditions must be below freezing at night and over 40 degrees during the day. Hoyt Farm taps trees and conducts the maple sugaring program throughout February and in the beginning of March.

“We love every program we offer at Hoyt… teaching young people about our history, wildlife and our caring for the natural habitat is not a job for us. It’s our calling. Sheryl Brook takes special care to put these programs and classes together so everyone leaves with a big smile and plans to come back. She doesn’t do it for the credit, but she truly deserves all the recognition. We’re beloved by the people who visit here because of the tireless work she puts in, together with the assistance of our dedicated team. We had an incredible maple sugaring season and program this year and I can’t wait to top it next year,” said Jeff Gumin, Director, Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve.

The maple sugaring program began in the late 1970’s, and started with one class. It is now a full blown family-oriented interactive experience, available to the general public, (not restricted to Smithtown residents) appropriate for all age groups. School classes, girl scouts, boy scout troops, kids and adults of all ages are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of this unforgettable experience.