Sweetening the Tapping Season with the New Sugar Shack


Lucia Zhang '25

A snapshot of the new sugar shack on Faculty Row.

David Liu '25, Contributor

With Loomis Chaffee’s maple sugaring operation only becoming more expansive, a team of community members constructed a sugar shack this month to boost the efficiency of the program. 

The sugar shack is a small wooden structure built of wood located down Faculty Row at the intersection of the cross country course.

“Those trees that are on Faculty Row are the oldest and the biggest so we get the most sap from them,” Delaney Denno ’23 said. 

Having been strategically placed nearest to the trees that will garner the most syrup, the sugar shack promises to increase the volume of syrup produced as well as the efficiency of the maple sugaring process. 

“The purpose of the sugar shack is to accelerate the process of boiling off the water from maple tree sap. Since under three percent of sap is actual syrup, the evaporation process takes a long time. The sugar shack will provide insulation, elevating the temperature of the environment and speeding up the boiling process,” Sandro Mocciolo ’23 said. 

The project is a collaboration between Environmental Proctors, Land Management students, and other passionate community members, with the support of the Alvord Center for Global and Environmental Studies as well as the Pearse Hub for Innovation.

Along with student environmental stewards volunteering with construction, several faculty members such as Mr. Andrew Hutchinson, PHI Affiliate, and Ms. Sarah Griggs, Associate Director of the Alvord Center, oversaw and organized the project.

“Mr. Hutch is the one who has been leading the construction on the sugar shack. He has done a lot for it and has been organizing it and had also made the plan for it,” Denno said.

LC maple sugaring aims to use the sugar shack to surpass the production numbers in previous years.

“The first year we only made two gallons of maple syrup. I believe last year we made 10. So a very big jump and this year we’re hoping to make around 15 gallons of maple syrup,” Denno said. 

The sugar shack is not the only technology aiding this year’s sugaring season.

“Another awesome development to maple sugaring is the reverse osmosis machine we hope to use this year. This machine would help extract a percentage of the water from the sap prior to the time-consuming process of boiling,” Mocciolo said.

Along with the sugar shack, the reverse osmosis machine is another new addition to the maple sugaring process that will significantly streamline syrup production.

“We also are going to have a lot more hands this year because we have a specific group dedicated to maple … sugaring. Before we just had people who would volunteer but not … people who are dedicated to it are spending all the winter preparing,” Denno said.

The Alvord Center for Global and Environmental Studies and the Loomis E-Proctors have been working diligently to advance the maple sugaring program and foster more recognition for the syrup production taking place here on the Island. 

“It is part of the E-Proctors’ and Alvord Center’s commitment to keep expanding the maple sugaring program at Loomis,” Mocciolo said.