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Nature Notebook

The month of March is spring’s herald. More importantly, it’s sugaring time! The combination of cold nights and warmer days creates pressure within the maple tree’s sapwood. Any breach of the sapwood (natural or manmade) provides an outlet for the “squished” sap, which we collect and cook into syrup.

Maple trees are not the only species that react this way to the early days of spring.

The sap of white walnut (or butternut) trees is similar to that of the sugar maple. Birch trees can also be tapped though their sap is not as sweet. Birch beer originally was produced from the sap of the black birch. Sycamore tree sap also has a lower sugar content but its syrup is said to have a butterscotch flavor. It is possible to tap an ironwood tree, but you’d better have strong tools because it is aptly named.

Learn the basic of maple sugaring at the Nature Center this Saturday, March 11 from 1 – 2 p.m. during the Maple Sugar Magic program, for all ages. Enjoy a talk and a stroll through the woods to learn how maple syrup is made. Call 269-927-4832 to register. Non-Members $8, Children $3

Join us for a showing of the movie “Hoot,” at the nature center this Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m. with a night hike and owl prowl happening at 8:45. The event is free and for all ages! If you are attending the owl prowl, please register by calling the nature center at (269) 927-4832.

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