New This Year – Two Maple Syrup Workshops @ Institute for American Indian Studies

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. If you have ever wondered how sap is transformed into maple sugar then don’t miss the new two-part, in-person outdoor Maple Sugar Workshops at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Connecticut on Saturday, February 20, and Saturday, February 27. This hands-on workshop is perfect for people that want to learn about the history of this sweet tradition as well as the ins and outs of making maple syrup. The two-part Maple Sugar Workshop is part of the Institute’s Winter Survival Program taught by Susan Scherf, an Educator at the Institute.

At the first workshop, “The Sweet Taste of Success” on Saturday, February 20, with one-hour time slots running from 11:00 a.m. until 4 p.m. for twenty people per session. Participants will learn the basics of modern maple syrup production. This workshop is designed for backyard hobby producers that want to start collecting sap for their own enjoyment. The first thing participants will learn is 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, and 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 Second Maple Syrup Workshop, “The History of a Sweet Tradition” taking place on Saturday, February 27 also offers one-hour time slots for twenty people running from 11 a.m. to 4 pm. This workshop focuses on the fascinating 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 for Maple Workshop #1, “The Sweet Taste of Success” and Maple Workshop #2, “The History of a Sweet Tradition” visit the museum website in order to reserve a space through Eventbrite or email the museum at The workshop is booked in one-hour time slots from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for twenty people. The price for each Maple Syrup Workshop is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $11 for children, and $5 for members. If you have questions, call the museum at 860-868-0518. All reservations must be made in advance, as space is limited.

About Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

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