Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing

Certificate Course


Maple Syrup Production Seminar -  “Maple syrup in West Virginia” – an overview of the entrepreneurial opportunities.  Open to anyone, required for those planning on continuing on to the certificate course.  A four-hour  session that introduces participants to the opportunities for maple production in West Virginia  and gives them the skills to become “backyard” syrup producers, making small quantities of syrup for their own use.

Certificate Course – This is for people who are considering entering the maple business.   Offered through a partnership between the WV Department of Agriculture and Future Generations (a WV educational institution), the course tuition is $655.00, including travel and room and board for weekend sessions.  Eligible for GI Bill funding and WV Veterans Re Education Act.  One credit will be given based on successful completion of certificate, grading will be on pass/fail basis.

Weekend sessions:  The first weekend will be held at Experience Learning, and the second weekend at Parchment Valley Conference Center

October 21

Forest Management for sap and syrup production

        AM - class session

        PM  - Field practice

October  22        

Sap collection systems and tubing installation

        AM - class session

        PM  - Field practice

November 4

Sap to Syrup: Running an evaporator

        AM - class session

        PM  - Field practice

November 5

Marketing and economics in the maple industry

        AM - class session

        PM  - Afternoon classroom workshop

Online classes: Each week course participants will be expected to read assigned chapters from instructor Mike Rechlin’s book Maple Syrup: An Introduction to the Science of a Forest Treasure.  These chapters will prepare us for the weekend field activities and provide background on the science behind sugaring.  These will be accompanied by three mid-week synchronous online sessions where we can discuss relevant material in each chapter.

Week #1


Chapter #1 -    Getting to Know Maples

Chapter #11 -  Managing Forests For Sap

Chapter #4  -   Tapping Out

First Residential

10/21 and 10/22

Dry Fork Maple Works and Experience Learning  (formerly The Mountain Institute) Spruce Knob

Week #2

10/16 to 10/21

Chapter #5  -   Making Sugar

Chapter#7   -   Sugar Sap

Chapter #8  -   The Runs

Week #3

10/22 to 10/27

Chapter #10 -  Scaling Up (p. 137-144)

Chapter #9   -   Sap to Syrup

Chapter #10 -   Scaling Up (p. 144-151)

Second Residential

10/28 and 10/29

Parchment Valley, Ripley, WV

Week #4

10/30 to 11/3

Chapter #2  -   Putting up Wood

Chapter #3  –   Understanding Trees

Chapter #6  -    Sap

Mentoring/Internship  -  Over the course of the sugaring season arrangements will be made for certificate course participants to work for a day with a local syrup producer on each of the following activities:

#1        -        Tapping out

#2        -        Maintaining and repairing tubing lines

#3        -        Making Maple Syrup

#4        -        Marketing and Sales

Participants completing the course the will each receive:

·       Maple Syrup: An Introduction to the Science of a Forest    Treasure,

·       A sap collection starter set to get you going this season, and

·   A year’s membership in the West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers  Association, providing access to additional educational workshops.

    Maple Syrup- Mike Rechlin.jpg