Although it looked dicey the night before with snow coming down, Saturday proved to be perfect weather for Wisconsin’s First Tapping Ceremony at Maple Grove School in Hamburg that served to kick off Maple Month.
As a crowd of over 100 people watched, Rochelle Ripp, Alice in Dairyland, pounded the metal tap into a tree next to the school’s playground. Ripp, area elected representatives, members of the Charter School Governing Board and five students all took a turn on the brace that tapped the tree.
During the ceremony, a proclamation issued by Governor Scott Walker designating March 16 – April 16 as Maple Month was read. To the surprise of event announcer Ray Melander, he too was presented with a joint proclamation from the legislature naming his maple operation top producer in the state for 2013.
The honor of hosting the state’s first tapping ceremony rotates among six districts in the state. Melander told the crowd he and a couple other sugarmen in the area got the idea to try to get this year’s honor at Maple Grove School.
“It would be a wonderful way to tie in what they are learning through Expeditionary Learning,” he said.
As a charter school, Maple Grove made the switch this year to the new curriculum model which immerses students in the material they are learning through realistic examples. In addition, the first grade class at Maple Grove has a long history of learning about the process of making maple syrup by actually tapping trees and watching the sap be boiled.
In addition to the ceremony that was held at noon, a community pancake breakfast organized by Friends of Maple Grove Inc. Tours were available of area syrup operations after the ceremony.
Maple Tap wide
Ray Melander helps Alice in Dairyland Rochelle Ripp turn the bit to tap a maple tree during Wisconsin’s First Tapping Ceremony at Maple Grove School in Hamburg Saturday as students from the school look on.
The first grade at Maple Grove School didn’t wait until Wisconsin’s First Tapping Ceremony to start their annual collection project.
Matt Seleger, left, and Ray Melander watch as Alice in Dairyland Rochelle Ripp taps in the spout as part of Wisconsin’s First Tapping Ceremony as Maple Grove School students look on.
Ray Melander and a group of Maple Grove School students watch as Alice in Dairyland Rochelle Ripp turns the brace to tap a maple tree next to their playground Saturday.
Wyatt Stieber, 5-years old, attacks his stack of pancakes at the Friends of Maple Grove, Inc., pancake breakfast at Ed & Sharon’s.
Even after 11 a.m. the crowd was still large for the Friends of Maple Grove, Inc., pancake breakfast at Ed & Sharon’s.
Reloading Steam Table
Guests wait patiently for more food to be added to the steam table.
State Sen. Tom Tiffany presents the proclamation honoring Maple Grove as part of the First Tapping Ceremony to members of the Charter School Governing Board.