Dowagiac culinary students learn about maple harvesting

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, April 10, 2019

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac High School culinary class recently went sugar bushing on a field trip to Rogers Lake in Dowagiac hosted by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.  Tribal citizens Jefferson Ballew, of the Bear Clan, and Michaelina “Micky” Martin, of the Turtle Clan, helped with the event. Ballew showed students how maple syrup was made from tapping maple trees.

The culinary students got a lesson on how the land and the wildlife should be respected and not taken for granted. The students were put to work by pulling the maple syrup taps from the trees and collecting the buckets of sap.

At the end of the day, students sat around a campfire and were told how tribal ancestors did not waste anything of a harvested animal or plant, and how many foods in today’s world are now processed. 

“This was a great experience for our students to learn about the Potawatomi culture and where our food comes from,” said Andy Kruger, Dowagiac Union High School’s culinary arts teacher.