Washington nonprofit offering maple syrup class

WASHINGTON — The Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington is offering a new two-part, in-person outdoor maple sugar workshop on Saturday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 27.

Maple syrup is among the oldest natural food products produced in North America. Native Americans were the first to discover maple syrup and refine the process of how this magically sweet amber elixir is made.

The work teaches how sap is transformed into maple sugar, the history of how it came about. The workshop is part of the Institute's Winter Survival Program taught by educator Susan Scherf.

The first workshop, “The Sweet Taste of Success” on Feb 20, has one-hour time slots running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for 20 people per session. Participants will learn the basics of modern maple syrup production. They will also learn proper tree identification and how to prepare the tree for the tapping season. They will learn about tree health and why and when sap flows. The final lesson is to learn about the tapping process, what to look for, what to avoid, and examples of the different methods of collecting and boiling sap. There will also be a discussion on the impact of climate change on maple syrup production.

The workshop, “The History of a Sweet Tradition” taking place on Saturday, Feb. 27, also offers one-hour time slots for 20 people running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This workshop focuses on the history of maple syrup as it was produced and enjoyed through the centuries. The workshop begins with a demonstration of the traditional techniques including the collection of and boiling down of sap into maple syrup used by Native Americans living in the Eastern Woodlands. The demonstration will include different traditional technologies used for the collection and boiling process in order to gain an understanding of what methods were used and why. A highlight of the program involves the history of this sweet tradition as participants gather around the fire in the Indian village and listen to traditional Native American stories about maple syrup that have been handed down from generation to generation.

To sign up, visit the museum website in order to reserve a space through Eventbrite, or email events@iaismuseum.org. For more information, call the museum, 38 Curtis Road, Washington, at 860-868-0518. All reservations must be made in advance, as space is limited.