Eliza Nelson & Melanie Douville

Eliza Nelson

As my friends and family will tell you, I am captivated by maple. It began during my high school semester at The Mountain School in Vershire, Vermont, where I got my first taste of sugaring. After graduating with a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University, I settled out West, where I spent two decades teaching at Arbor School in Tualatin, Oregon. Working with kids in the Arbor woods, I renewed my maple mania, learning to tap native Bigleaf Maple trees, and launching the Oregon Maple Project in 2020. When I’m not tromping through the sugarbush, I’m usually still outdoors, running, backpacking, or cross-country skiing with my husband and two teenage sons, and dog. Indoors, I continue to pursue the old, slow arts: letterpress printing, bread making, and yoga. I am delighted to be focusing this chapter of my life on nature, community, and the irresistible work of sugaring.

Melanie Douville

I am an environmental science/art educator and interdisciplinary artist interested in cultivating connection between people and the natural world. I grew up in rural Oregon, with many farm animals and pets, and consider it a privilege to have had a nourishing and positive relationship with the environment growing up. My work is driven by a commitment to environmental and social justice, building community climate resilience, and providing equitable and accessible opportunities for young people to experience outdoor spaces in unique and meaningful ways. Currently, I am fully immersed in the captivating world of bigleaf maple sugaring, exploring the traditional and sustainable practice of extracting maple sap to make syrup from these bountiful trees. Maples have so much to teach us – I'm curious what we can learn by observing the ways maple trees experience the world.