Come March, when nighttime temperatures remain chilly but the days begin to warm, Sara Cawthon and her student assistants scope out between 15-20 maple trees on campus to tap for sap. Cawthon is the manager of Bowdoin’s organic gardens.
While Cawthon prefers sugar maples, she works with red maples as well. After drilling a hole through the bark for a small spigot, Cawthon and her students hang metal buckets on the tree to collect its flowing sap.
Four weeks from now, Cawthon predicts she will have collected between 100 and 120 gallons of sap, which boils down to about 2.5 gallons of syrup.
Students returning from spring break are treated to a maple syrup tasting demonstration, Cawthon said. And Thorne Hall uses some of the syrup for special occasions, such as on Family Weekend.