Last weekend, Bettina Velona, counselor for Au Pair in America in Arlington, offered a Maple Sugaring Tour at the Mass Audubon's Habitat in Belmont for her Arlington area au pairs and to au pairs who live in the Boston area.
Two experienced Habitat guides, Ann and Sandy, led the wonderful maple sugaring tour. The au pairs learned that maple sugaring is very unique to this area; they learned about the characteristics of a sugar maple in order to differentiate it from other trees and other types of maples.
The tour included a visit to a tapped maple tree, where au pairs got to taste the sap directly from the tree and the tour guides talked more about what happens in a maple tree during maple sugaring season.
In the sugar shack (not functional anymore), au pairs found out how sap gets boiled down to syrup in an evaporator as well as the transformation of the very slightly sweetened sap into a much sweeter syrup by boiling it in the Habitat’s kitchen. What a surprise to find out that the ratio of boiling sap into syrup is 40:1!
While waiting for the sap to become syrup, the tour guides spoke about the different grades of maple syrup and quizzed au pairs on what they learned during the tour. The tour concluded with a helping of ice-cream with maple syrup, cranberries and maple cookies.
In addition to Bettina's monthly meetings with her group, monthly regional events like this give these young women from all over the world a chance to participate in culturally-relevant activities.
Bettina Velona has been a counselor for au pairs and host families for five years. She is available to both the au pair and the family for assistance, support and mediation when necessary.
The au pair program is a cultural exchange program that provides affordable and dependable child care for American families.
For more information on Au Pair in America, see www.aupairinamerica.com or email Bettina at firstname.lastname@example.org.