Gathering Sap

Part of the Environmental Discourses in Science Education book series (EDSE, volume 6)


Neighborhood foraging, drawing calories and spiritual connection from creatures whose everyday familiarity can cause us to overlook them, can be an important way to reconnect modern urban residents to the mysteries of the natural world. In this essay, I explore some of the practical skills that I have acquired to harvest maple syrup and edible mushrooms from a sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) that graces my backyard. Through that work, I’ve enjoyed opportunities to interact with and teach my neighbors about the potential for wild eating from our very typical neighborhood setting. Even more fundamentally, I have seen my own connection to the natural world of which I am part deepen greatly, in ways that my formal ecological training did not always convey. More widespread urban foraging of this type may be one important tangible way to rekindle an appreciation for the natural world in modern urban and suburban North Americans.


Urban foraging Small-scale maple syrup Mushroom cultivation Environmental awareness Environmental ethic 

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability and Environmental Education DepartmentGoshen CollegeGoshenUSA

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