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First grade teacher Melanie Lyte helps a student tap a maple tree at Bell Top Elementary School

First grade teacher Melanie Lyte helps a student tap a maple tree at Bell Top Elementary School on Tuesday, March 9.

It is a telltale sign that winter is coming to an end. Students walking in a straight line out of Bell Top Elementary School with metal buckets in hand, searching for maple trees from which to extract sugary sap.

Students were able to participate in this longstanding tradition on Monday and Tuesday under the guidance of first grade teachers Melanie Lyte and Sarah Lussier.

Classes would take turns going outside to tap trees all around the Bell Top grounds. After a brief lesson on how to tap trees, the teachers helped students drill a hole into the tree, clear out the sawdust and then hammer a spile into the hole. With the warm weather this week, sap immediately began to drip out of the trees. Students hung the buckets on the tree and the sap collection began.

The fun activity teaches students about science, nature and math.

“This has just been such a hard year but it’s really nice to see the kids being able to interact with each other outside, have fun and just know that they’re having an experience that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said Mrs. Lyte.

Students will use the sap to make homemade maple syrup in the Learning Barn next week and then enjoy a pancake lunch at school.