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Lots of sweet learning at Maple Thanksgiving!

Maple ThanksgivingLast week, more than 500 Portland Public School kindergarten students celebrated Maple Thanksgiving by visiting the sugar house at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS).

This district-wide fieldwork experience is part of Portland Public School’s Wabanaki Studies & Life Science Curriculum. Leading up to their fieldwork, students have been visiting and tapping a maple tree on their own elementary school campuses.

For the second year in a row, Maine Audubon helped to run Maple Thanksgiving in collaboration with Katie West and Environmental Literacy teachers at Portland Public School. This year also included Passamaquoddy member Minquansis Sapiel and PATHS Horticultural Instructor Justin Nichols and his students.

With Maine Audubon, students learned about animal friends of the maple tree. In addition to the Black-capped Chickadee and Gray Squirrel, students learned about the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and how it drills sap wells into the maple to slurp up sap when it migrates to Maine, while food is still scarce early in the season. Students were also introduced to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which follows the Sapsucker in the spring. It too can eat sap from maple trees before flower nectar is more readily available.

Maine Audubon is thrilled to be part of this district-wide fieldwork that centers equity and honors the indigenous origins of maple sugaring.

Maple Thanksgiving