- Monday, April 20, 2020
OneTree and ACEP provide birch-tapping supplies
Because of the coronavirus restrictions, OneTree Alaska can’t do its usual sap collecting and processing at UAF this year. Instead, it has been working with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and home schools to provide birch sap collecting kits for youth K-12.
OneTree Director Jan Dawe said 135 kits have been ordered. Kits include a sap bucket and lid, spile (tap), a drill bit and comprehensive instructions, including a how-to video. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power provided funds to cosponsor the project. Families that usually participate in the Fairbanks birch sap cooperative and have students will also receive the free kits.
One of the cooperative’s members has volunteered to put all the household locations on a Google map, so they will be able to get citizen science information and track different sap season markers, such as the first day of sap flow, peak sap, sap turns cloudy, green-up, etc.
Dawe said, “So the pandemic is forcing us to take the leap into doing what we have hoped to do for years: scale up from individual classroom work to crowd-sourced community science and long-term monitoring.”
In the Interior, the sap season is expected to begin this weekend with green-up forecast for the week of May 5-11.
Birch sap kits with buckets, tap, drill bit and instructions await pickup at the OneTree STEAM studio at Lola Tilly Commons. Photo courtesy of UAF Cooperative Extension.