Ferrisburgh students to tap maple trees

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh selectmen on Tuesday agreed to let supervised Ferrisburgh Central School students tap maple trees on the town-owned Union Meeting Hall property on Route 7 — with one provision.
The proposal came from FCS parent Nick Patch, who has a portable maple sugar house. Patch sought the board’s permission to tap the maples, which are about 400 yards from the school across the state highway.
Patch said he and other volunteers would take small student groups to the Union Meeting Hall property in turn, and then bring the sap back to FCS and boil and produce syrup there to introduce students to the process.
Patch said the county forester had recommended only one tap per tree and said the trees would be healthier if sod were removed from around their bases and replaced with mulch, thus protecting them from weed-whacking. Patch said he and students would volunteer to do that project for the town.
Selectmen backed the proposal unanimously.
“I think it’s great,” said Jim Warden.
Approval was conditional, however, because town resident Bob McNary said it was his understanding that the trees were planted in memory of veterans and were not to be touched.
The selectboard and Town Clerk Chet Hawkins said they were unaware of any such provision in writing that would prevent schoolchildren from tapping the trees, but would search the records in case one existed.
If one is found, the permission to tap the trees next spring will be rescinded, the board said.
Hawkins said he didn’t foresee such a document turning up.
“I can’t imagine a soldier being against tapping a maple tree,” Hawkins said, “if they’re from Vermont.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].           

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