Thursday, March 8, 2012

Maple Sugar Tour

On Sunday, I took a maple sugar tour at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. It started with a half-hour video indoors then continued with a 40 minute walk through the woods. We saw buckets collecting sap in the "sugar bush". Other maples were tapped with more modern collection methods: plastic bags hung on individual trees or plastic tubing connecting several trees to a container. One tree demonstrated pioneer technology, with a wooden spile directing sap into a wooden bucket.

The tour then visited the sugar shack where the sap is boiled in an evaporator to make syrup. About 40 gallons of sap are needed to make a single gallon of syrup.

After the syrup is finished it's filtered and graded based on color.

Maple Sugar Tours at the Nature Center continue this weekend (Saturday 3/10/12 at 1 & 3 pm, Sunday 3/11/12 at 1 & 3 pm). The following weekend is the Nature Center's annual Maple Sugar Festival with tours throughout Saturday and Sunday, as well as a pancake breakfast and other activities.

Kalamazoo Nature Center
7000 North Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

There are also other Maple Events happening in area parks and nature centers.

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