January 15, 2013

Grant to fund maple-syrup initiatives


---- — TUPPER LAKE — A grant will fund a series of maple-themed workshops, expos and pancake breakfasts to get people in the North Country tapped into the potential right in their backyards.

A $158,120 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission for the Northern New York Maple Project will promote resource conservation and economic development.

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will partner with Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center and the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program on the events.


The project will provide maple producers — and others interested in becoming producers — with hands-on training and community workshops. The events are designed to educate the region about the economic opportunity available and create self-sustaining jobs and employment for the area.

Both the Wild Center and Paul Smith’s College VIC will create and maintain energy-efficient maple-sugaring demonstration sites that will be open to the public.

Pok-O-MacCready Education Center kicks off the series with a look at the history of maple and a two-part workshop on sugaring.


The events associated with the grant that are being held in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties are:

Jan. 17: 7 p.m. this Thursday, Cabin Fever Lecture Series, “History of Maple,” Pok-O-MacCready, Willsboro. Kristina Parker Wingler and Josh Wingler of Parker Family Maple Farm will give a multi-media and multi-era presentation on maple production in the North Country. $5.

Jan. 19 and 26: David and Angela Swan of Homestead Maple in Chazy will host workshops this Saturday and Saturday, Jan. 26, for people who want to start making their own syrup. Tuition is $15 each. Call Brian DeGroat at 963-7967 to register.

Feb. 2: Franklin County Maple Association Maple Expo, Brushton-Moira Central School, Future Farmers of America, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cornell University, Cooperative Extension and maple-industry specialists teach syrup production, equipment, maple tubing, sugarbush thinning, filtering, canning, making value-added maple confections, buying and selling, licensing, tax assessment, stainless-steel welding, wholesaling and direct marketing. Cost: preregistration $20 per person; $30 at door.Call 483-7403.

Feb. 16: Maple Workshop, Setting up a Tubing System with Mike Farrell, Paul Smith’s College VIC, Paul Smiths, 1 to 4 p.m. Day will start inside with a short program and then head out to set up a tubing system for the VIC’s Sugar Maple Demonstration site. Topics include preparing the sugarbush before tubing installation, site considerations, line placement and installation, tapping trees, sanitation and sap collection. Call 327-6241 or

Feb. 24 and March 16: Maple Workshops with Pancake Breakfasts, the Wild Center, Tupper Lake, 9 to 11 a.m., includes program, games and tastings for the whole family. Contact Jen Kretser at or 359-7800, Ext. 138.

March 16 and 17: New York State Maple Weekend.

March 23: Beginner Maple Workshop, 1 to 4 p.m., Paul Smith’s College VIC, includes program and tastings for the whole family. Contact Brian McDonnell at 327-6241 or

March 23 and 24: New York State Maple Weekend.

June 26 to 39: Cornell Maple Camp, Paul Smith’s College VIC and Cornell Maple Program, Lake Placid.


Sandford Blitz, federal co-chair of the Northern Border Regional Commission, said her group is “pleased to be a part of this extraordinary and exciting maple program, which is different from what we ordinarily get involved in. The program is new and intriguing from our perspective, especially the workforce-training aspects.”

Wild Center Executive Director Stephanie Ratcliffe said they are grateful for the support from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

“This project really builds on the region’s natural assets,” she said in a statement. “It promotes sustainable economic development through a region-wide encouragement of micro enterprises.

“The real winners of this grant are the current and future maple producers that we will support through this project.”