The Spirit of Maple

Welcome to an evolving 2021 project by Amy Nosal, Extension Iron County Community Development Educator!

Maple is a natural resource, regional food and a source of community pride and wealth.  Its significance spans multiple cultures and points of interaction.  This webpage, The Spirit of Maple, articulates how maple – specifically sugar maple – engages a variety of people to share its gifts.  It is an act of reciprocity to learn how we can hold such gifts well, and the result of such interactions is sustained ecosystems, economies and communities.

Land Acknowledgement

“Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit. To become naturalized is to know that your ancestors lie in this ground. Here you will give your gifts and meet your responsibilities. To become naturalized is to live as if your children’s future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do.” Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Maple sugaring is original to Native people of North America.

The Extension Iron County office is located on Ojibwe land.  Visit the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission website for more information about Ojibwe natural resource management within treaty-ceded territories (i.e., areas where Ojibwe tribes reserve their rights to hunt, fish and gather).

Click on the 2021 GLIFWC article below to read how Anishinaabe language articulates traditional and current understandings of community and ecology.













The Voices of Maple Nation: Indigenous Women’s Climate Summit website shares a variety of media resources articulating the ecological and cultural significance of maple and how such knowledge can support maple ecosystems threatened by climate change.




Ojibwe Lifeway: Maple Sugaring and Birch Harvesting (“Ziigwan” – Spring)  A Gikinoo/wizhiwe Onji Waaban (“G-WOW” Guiding for Tomorrow) unit that investigates the impacts of a warming climate on sugar maple.  Resources in this service learning curriculum integrate place-based evidence of climate change with science to promote action.




Bird Friendly Maple: A collaborative conservation project that aims to sweeten sugarbush habitat for songbirds.  “A sugarbush is a forest stand that consists of mostly sugar maple tree species, which can be used to produce maple syrup. Maple syrup can be a model for sustainably produced food that also creates habitat for birds and other wildlife.”



How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Maple Syrup by the University of Maine includes step-by-step instructions for making maple syrup, as well as videos about the when and how of tapping, as well as testing maple syrup quality.



Maple Resources by the Ohio State University includes lists of maple producer associations, publications and research centers.





Maple Business Plan resources by the University of Vermont assist commercial producers to assess the goals, strengths and challenges of their operations.


Sharing section is underdeveloped and a little rough around the edges!  As it grows, it will share information about:

  • Gifts and commerce


Enjoying section is underdeveloped and a little rough around the edges!  As it grows, it will share information about:

  • Public forests
  • Local food tourism


Sharing is Caring - Click Below to Share