During our Maple Sugaring Festival, we created a table in our Gallery to share some quick thoughts about maple sugaring and climate change. Research by the USDA Forest Service and a study released by Cornell University demonstrate changes in climate have already had an impact on the iconic sugar maple trees of the Northeastern US and could eventually affect maple syrup production.
Research shows that climate change stressors may decrease the availability of maple syrup or shift production northward by the end of the next century because of direct changes in temperature, decreases in snowpack, or increases in weather disturbances such as ice storms.
Studies by Forest Service researchers show that climate change will affect habitat suitability for maple trees. While maple trees won’t necessarily vanish from the landscape, there could be fewer trees that are more stressed, further reducing maple syrup availability. There are also studies being done on the impact of climate change on the quantity and quality of maple sugar sap.
We then asked people to share their ideas on how they could lower their own impact. While we were thinking about maple sugaring and trees, people shared a variety of ideas. Perhaps spending time in the Gallery and reading some of the artist’s statements from our current exhibition, What Have We Got to Lose?, helped influence their ideas.
As our sugaring season is ending, we thought we would share some of the ideas that were listed by visitors; responses were a mix from both children and adults.
- reusable lunch containers
- help your mom clean up – guessing this one resulted in a BIG hug from mom!
- pick up trash; and one that was a statement: I will pick up more trash
- take your own containers to restaurants for leftovers; no styrofoam, plastic, etc.
- recycle more – always a great reminder, thanks Isabelle
- make less trash; and others who said reduce our waste
- turn the lights off when you are not in the room – great idea, we are fortunate here at Moose Hill to have a Visitor Center with lots of windows and great day-lighting so we can keep lights off!
- start a compost pile
- take the train – did you know the Commuter Rail station in Sharon is just 1.5 miles from our Visitor Center?
- give the trees more CO2 by being outside and breathing – in case you didn’t know, plants use CO2, or carbon dioxide, in the process of photosynthesis – and of course, we support any reason to be outside! Here’s an interesting article that may spark some new ideas for you.
- recycle and save energy and donate and pick up trash – Erin had lots of ideas
- eat local! grow a garden or join a CSA – funny you should mention that, we happen to have a Community Supported Agriculture program right here at Moose Hill and registration for this summer is open.
- don’t cut down trees, don’t hurt animals, don’t pollute the water
- use recyclable water bottles and utensils
- carpool instead of using multiple cars – great idea Emmie!
- plant 5 a year so if one dies there are 4 left still – our trees thank you for thinking of them!
- use energy-saving light bulbs – great idea; while we had converted to compact fluorescent bulbs a while ago, we recently just upgraded to LED bulbs and we love them, further reducing our energy costs!
- carpool, ride a bicycle, or take a train or a bus to reduce the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere; as opposed to taking individual cars
- hug a tree..hugs
- only tap trees that are mature and healthy!
- use more hand drying thingies
We loved hearing your ideas and have decided to keep this question going – How can we reduce our impact? So next time you visit, explore the Gallery, and share your ideas – many individuals doing what feels like the smallest, or even simplest thing, CAN make a big impact!