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Virtual | Maple Sugaring

February 16 – March 12 (call for date extension): What is sap and why is it in the tree? Can you tap any tree to make syrup? How can you tell different types of trees apart? Learn from our farmers, who will first teach students how to identify trees, then show them the seasonal process of tapping sugar maples and collecting sap. In a virtual visit to the sugar shack, students will also see a working evaporator and learn about past and present sugaring methods.

Virtual field trips feature fun hands-on activities designed to get your students engaged. Each program includes:

  • Pre-field trip warm-up questions or activities to get students thinking about the topic
  • 30-40 minute online lesson led by our naturalists, with engaging information and guidance to prepare the students for their hands-on activity
  • Hands-on activity for students to explore outdoors at their home or school
  • Post-field trip wrap-up questions to guide the teacher’s assessment

Program Objectives

Students will participate in the maple sugaring process in order to understand:

  • What sap is and why trees are only tapped in late winter/early spring
  • How evaporation turns sap into maple syrup or maple sugar
  • Why sugar maples make the best sap for syrup
  • How people use natural resources to meet their needs

Essential Questions

  • How can you identify trees without looking at the leaves?
  • What is sap made from and why is it in the tree?
  • How does boiling turn maple sap into maple syrup?

Relevant Curricula

Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A Structure and Function | LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms | LS2.B Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems | PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer | PS3.D Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

NJ Science Standards: 5.1A Understand Scientific Explanations | 5.1B Generate Scientific Evidence Through Active Investigations | 5.2B Changes in Matter | 5.2E Forces and Motion | 5.3B Matter and Energy Transformations

NJ Social Studies Standards: 6.1B Geography, People and the Environment | 6.1C Economics, Innovation and Technology | 6.1D History, Culture and Perspectives

Cost & Scheduling

$60 for groups of up to 25 students (scholarships available for certain programs)

To register, email

To schedule a group 

please email our program coordinator with your name, phone number, and number of participants:

Book a Group via Email

Individuals and families

may register online through our CommunityPass portal:

Register Family or Individual

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Howell Farm is owned by the County of Mercer and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission

Brian M. Hughes, County Executive | Aaron T. Watson, Executive Director

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