Maple trees + good timing + basic chemistry = maple syrup. But Science Friday takes us behind the scenes of maple syrup research to show that there’s much more to it than that. While the tradition has been to tap fully grown wild trees – commercially with lots of plastic tubing – recent experiments at University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center have found that harvesting from the cut tops of juvenile trees might yield 5 to 6 times per acre, surprisingly without harming the young trees.
Lots of questions about this one: What are the other differences between the farm vs forest model of growing trees? Does this new process affect the local birds or creatures underground? What do these young trees look like in 20 years? What questions do you have?
File under: food, trees, and how things are made.
From Science Friday.
We know that sugar is a big part of candy, ice cream, and sweet drinks, but did you know that added sugars are included in 3/4 of the 600,000+ products found in the average grocery store? And that it can go by 56 different names?
Watch this super useful TED Ed by Robert Lustig, with animation by The Tremendousness Collective, to learn more about the different kinds of sugar inside the foods that we eat, and how it interacts with our bodies: Sugar: Hiding in plain sight.
Related watching: The Cook’s Atelier, China’s farm to table movement, How Gardening Enables Interdisciplinary Learning, and more TED Ed videos.
If you’re a two year old, injured snowy owl in need of some new feathers, you’ll be lucky to find yourself at a raptor center like the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. There, someone like Avian physiologist Lori Arent can perform the modern version of an old falconers’ procedure called imping – when a bird’s damaged flight feathers are replaced with a stronger ones. From National Geographic:
“I have a whole freezer full of harvested feathers, of different types and sizes, and I wanted to choose the right ones for this animal. I picked feathers from a male the same age as this bird and they fit perfectly…”
She then whittled small sticks of bamboo so that one end poked into the shaft of the new feather and the other into the shaft still attached to the bird (where the burned feathers had been carefully sheared off).
With a little drop of quick-drying epoxy, she cemented each new feather into place. “If attached right, the new feathers are just as effective as the old ones” in letting a bird do all of its aerial maneuvers, she said….
Eventually, the owl will lose the borrowed feathers—in a process called molting—and grow its own new ones.
Snowy owls are amazing animals that travel long distances every year. Watch Snowy Owl Invasion.
And another lucky bird: Rocky the Bald Eagle is released from the Eagle Valley Raptor Center.