The Sugar Shack at Forest Area Community Schools

EcoSchool Project Portfolio


Fife Lake, Michigan; Forest Area Community Schools




Forest Area Community Schools, Michigan Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, SEEDS EcoCorps, the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative, the Great Lakes Energy People Fund, Traverse City Rotary Good Works, and the Fife Lake community


SEEDS EcoSchool revived the maple sugaring curriculum at Forest Area Community Schools. With the help of SEEDS EcoCorps in 2020, a new sugar shack replaced the original which was built and used in the eighties. 

The extensive acreage of the school forest provides a unique opportunity for students to get hands-on experience making maple syrup. Maple-sugaring offers place-based education across a number of content areas. Students learn about the botany of trees, exploring why and how sap runs. They practice math by estimating the sugar content of sap and the yield of gallons of sap to gallons of syrup (hint! It’s about 40:1!). Students also delve into social studies by reading about the local history and cultural significance of maple-sugaring by the Anishinaabe and immigrants to the Americas.