SJA Maple Tree to Be Used Across Curriculum

Maple tree on Mayo Lawn
September 10, 2018

The old maple in the middle of Mayo Lawn will be used in a number of student programs after its removal this fall.

The removal of a large maple tree that has reached the end of its lifespan has become an opportunity for students at St. Johnsbury Academy.


Last fall, Field Semester and Forestry teacher Jessica Bakowski and her students conducted research on the tree, hoping to find a way to extend its life. Her class participated in selective pruning and waited to see what would happen. Unfortunately, the tree has continued its decline, forcing it’s removal due to safety concerns. The tree will be replaced soon with another sugar maple.


After its removal, however, many more student will benefit from the tree’s wood. Ms. Bakowski is hopeful that enough of the old tree will be salvageable to be milled by Field Semester students into lumber at the Academy’s Field Campus in Danville, and then made into furniture by students in Mr. Stark’s Fine Woodworking classes. If the wood is not usable for furniture, it will be used by the Forestry class to fuel the evaporator when they make maple syrup in the spring.


SJA Field Semester and Forestry instructor Jessica Bakowski is excited about being able to use wood from the maple tree as part of her curriculum. She said, “The maple tree on Mayo Lawn has been a central part of our campus for a long time. After its removal, we will make sure that it will continue to serve student learning one last time in a number of interesting ways.”


Tom Lovett, Headmaster of St. Johnsbury Academy, said, “This tree is as iconic as any on campus, and so it is sad to see it decline so quickly.  I am happy, however, that Jessica and her students have found ways to use the tree and that we will be replacing it so that Mayo Lawn will once again have a tree at its center.”

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