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Paleontological Research Institution


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 35 minutes, 42 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, USA - Northeast, New York

Sugar Maples and Climate Change

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  • In this webinar, students learn about sugar maple trees, how maple syrup is harvested, how these trees are affected by climate change, and what they can do to help.
  • Links to maps and additional videos are included below the webinar for additional context.
Teaching Tips


  • Throughout the webinar, the speakers asks the audience questions, which students can also respond to as they watch the video.
  • The speakers also provide resources for students to get involved in helping the sugar maples and engage in climate science.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You can skip through different sections of the video by using the scrollbar.
  • Some of the resources mentioned in the webinar are specific to New York.
  • The link to the Climate Change Tree Atlas no longer works. This link can be used instead.
  • Students should be familiar with identifying trends in graphs.


  • Have younger students research what effects the disappearance and movement of the sugar maple may have on local wildlife. Have older students research what effects this may have on ecosystems.
  • More advanced students can look into feedback loops and how the disappearance of sugar maples may affect humans' ability to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
  • This resource can also be used in economics classes during lessons about the impacts of climate change on industries.
  • This reading can be used before the webinar to introduce students to the importance of trees.
Scientist Notes
This resource from the Paleontological Research Institution examines how climate change is impacting maple syrup production. Three video resources are presented, though it may be beneficial to show students the video from Professor Brian Chabot at the bottom of the page first, as this video features a clear introduction to the sugaring process. The webinar recording clearly shows how climate change impacts maples, varying from shifting seasons to major changes in snowpack. The webinar features a number of excellent plots that illustrate the ever warming climate without neglecting the variability in the weather, and it features several steps that students can take to monitor tree phenology and the climate. This resource provides a fascinating look at how climate change is impacting our breakfasts and is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
      • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
      • HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.II.11–12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
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