White Earth Land Recovery Project

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup – As the weather becomes warmer and the days become just a bit longer, the White Earth Land Recovery Project begins to prepare for the Maple Syrup season, or Iskigamizige-Giizis (Maple Sugar Moon). Each year WELRP’s Sustainable Communities staff, along with numerous families from the community, come together in late February (Namebini giizis) to begin the process of tapping the maple trees. For the next two to three weeks, approximately 4000 taps are hand -tapped into selected trees in our pristine sugarbush. Once the trees are tapped, and the sun begins to turn the cool days into warm ones, we anxiously await for the first drops of sap to appear in our buckets.

Maple Syrup Harvest 2004 – We had another excellent Maple Syrup harvest in 2004, with 19,340 gallons of maple sap collected and processed into 448 finished gallons of maple syrup. With any maple syrup harvest, there is much work, and to assist us, we had some amazing volunteer groups assist us once again.

Our first group of volunteers consisted of 10 young ladies from Colorado State University. While here, they experienced slippery roads, chilly weather, and spring snowstorm. Many of the comments from them consisted of how much more they appreciate the maple syrup on their pancakes; now that they know how much work it is to make it. As well we had repeat groups from Hamline and St. Thomas Universities. Each spring they look forward to assisting Ron in the sugarbush, and in the Spring of 2004, they assisted Native Harvest’s move to its new facility as well. Our maple syrup operation was completed by April 15th, with clean up ensuing for a couple of more weeks. To complete our round of volunteers, we hosted a group of high school students from Hillside-Murray out of St. Paul. They were excited to see all our wonderful projects and programs at WELRP and were able to observe a traditional Pow-wow during Indian Awareness week. 

Maple Syrup Harvest 2005 – After a fairly dry winter, but wet spring, and warmer than usual, we were hoping for a bumper harvest of maple syrup. Unfortunately, the weather turned very cool during harvest time, and out of our two sugar bushes that were in operation this year, we only received 130 finished gallons of maple syrup. Once again we were blessed with help from various colleges, with approximately 40 young college students here to assist with the harvest. Instead of helping in the sugar bush, they were able to assist staff with other projects, such as building of greenhouses, assisting in local schools and numerous other projects. We are always grateful for our volunteers, regardless of what Mother Nature has in store for the maple syrup harvest.

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