Alaska Birch Sap Analysis

Welcome to the Birch Sap Buccaneers. We are a group of 7th and 8th graders that are studying the relationship between unfrozen soil moisture and the quality and quantity of sap flow in birch trees. The Alaska Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) funded this project and we are nearing completion.

In our study we chose two birch stands that differed in elevation by 25 feet. We then buried soil moisture probes at different depths and set up data stations. Our data loggers took percent moisture readings every hour.

Producing one gallon of syrup requires boiling down about 100 gallons of sap. Most commercial producers use reverse osmosis to initially remove much of the water, but the final product still requires boiling. We hope to come up with information that will help birch syrup producers choose ideal locations for tree tapping. Learning the characteristics of places where the tree sap contains a higher sugar to water ratio would be a benefit to production costs.


Students are learning data collection
and processing, presentation skills,scientific techniques, scientific process and instrument usage.

Here a student checks the battery voltage after a particularly cold week. Batteries loose efficiency at low temperatures and we lose data.

We want to thank all those who gave their time, money and knowledge to this project. A special thanks to Mike Lilly and his team of scientists at GW Scientific, who helped train us in the use of Campbell Scientific data loggers, thermal probes and soil moisture reflectometers. Campbell Scientific donated two data loggers, without which the project could not have continued. A special thank you to Roy Gilbertson of Delta Building Supply, who supplied us with valuable construction materials for our sap processing building. Many others contributed to this scientific investigation effort. We invite you to click here or on our THANK YOU link below.

Each of the thumbnails below represents a link to different web pages that we created for this project. When the site is completed you will use either the navigation bar or these links to find your way through our project! We will be adding more pages as our project nears completion.

The spring of 2002 sap run has not yet started