Late February and early March are known as sugarbush season, a time when the sap begins to run through maple trees, and for members of the Detroit Sugarbush Project, it’s the time they head out to Detroit’s Rouge Park to tap into the park’s maple trees and start collecting sap. The practice is a cultural tradition meant to connect indigenous people to their heritage and ancestors as much as it is a spiritual process that reminds them of their connection to the Earth.

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One Detroit contributor AJ Walker joins the Detroit Sugarbush Project members — David Pitawanakwat, Dr. Shakara Tyler and Alexis Chingman-Tijerina — for a day in Rouge Park collecting sap to learn more about the process of making maple syrup and how the group has been trying to revive the cultural tradition. Plus, Antonio Cosme, of the National Wildlife Federation, explains how projects like this are helping to provide a sense of healing for communities of color.

 

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