Although we are at the end of the season for tapping a Maple tree, learning the process is never to late.
We took a trip to the Churchville Nature Center for a fun program that gave the kids a hands on and up close experience of what it is like to tap a tree and how to make the syrup from the sap that you can collect. It was broken down into steps that included a story with some history of how the syrup may have been discovered, as well as some fun facts. It was interactive and included having the kids set themselves up as a “living tree”. The process was further explained with actual people stepping in as the roots, branches, and trunk. This helped to give a better visual to all involved.
The next step was to head outside and see how to put the tap into the tree. At this stop we were able to sample what the sap tastes like straight from the tree. It was decided that it tasted just like water, only with a little sweetness added to it. We then headed over to learn more about the boiling down process. That part included sitting in the fire pit area, which was a welcome stop on a rather chilly Spring day. This part was crucial in making actual Maple Syrup. We also were given information about some of the tools used in the process. One was the Sap Hydrometer which is the tool used to measure the sap sugar content.
After Learning some “WOW, I did not know that ” facts, like how it takes 43 GALLONS of Sap to make ONE gallon of Maple syrup.
We headed back inside to start the next leg of our program.
To end the afternoon, we were shown some of the many reptiles that live at the CNC. They included many varieties of snakes, a Bearded Dragon, and several turtles. They were able to be held by some of the kids who chose to do so, and for others that were less comfortable getting up close and personal, they enjoyed watching from afar.
It is a great program that is full of fun for the kids. Although, I would recommend the 4-11 age range as some of the information may be redundant for the older kids….. Enjoy this and many other programs at the CNC : http://www.churchvillenaturecenter.org/