South Jersey residents who have red maple trees on their properties and who love pancakes and waffles might be able to make their own maple syrup.

Aaorn Stoler, assistant professor of environmental sciences at Stockton University and lead investigator on the project, said his team received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to promote maple sugaring in South Jersey.

Maple syrup is mostly produced in places like Canada and the northeastern states where there is a dominance of the sugar maple tree species.

While South Jersey is not trying to compete with these regions, Stoler said Stockton researchers are trying to encourage an alternative use of forested land. Stoler said many South Jersey landowners recognize there is an importance to preserving their forested land and many know they can get tax assessments and rebates for preservation.

He said someone won't be making thousands of dollars out of maple syrup making unless they have acres of trees. But it's nice to make a few bucks and do something good with the land that may just be sitting there.

Landowners should have at least 5 acres of property with red maple trees on it. If they are interested in tapping for syrup, they should contact Stockton and someone will come out, assess the property to see if it's useful to their study.

Stockton also provides all the necessary equipment such as taps, tubes and buckets.

"Residents can keep the syrup. All we ask is that they make a commitment to tap their trees and that they allow us to come onto their land to take a few measurements of vegetation, seeds of the maple trees and to record sap yields so we can understand how much they're giving," Stoler said.

If a landowner is not sure if they have red maple trees on their property, they can take pictures, send them to Stockton and a researcher will identify them.

Interested maple syrup tappers should contact Aaron Stoler at aaron.stoler@stockton.edu or Outreach Coordinator, Judith Vogel at judith.vogel@stockton.edu.

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