March 25, 2009
- Maple Sugaring
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Long Island
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center and Tivoli Bays Visitors Center
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Adirondacks - Adirondack Park Agency Visitors Interpretive Centers at Newcomb and Paul Smiths
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
As the days become warmer and sunnier in late spring, maple trees begin to release sap from their trunks. This time of year is known as the "sugaring off" season. Maple producers generally collect sap from trees through a network of plastic tubing. Depending on the size of the tree, as many as four taps can be placed in it, each yielding up to ten gallons of sap per season.
As the sap runs, it is collected in vats or pumped directly into the "sugar house," where the process of transforming sap into syrup takes place. The sap begins as mostly water. As the water is boiled and evaporated, the sap is converted to maple syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
Visit a Sugarbush and Eat Locally
A grove of maples trees tapped for maple syrup production is called a "sugar bush." There are more than 1,500 commercial syrup producers in New York State, and many of them are open for tours and even sell their products-like maple syrup, maple candy and maple cream-directly from their farms. Purchasing these products right from the source helps the environment because they aren't transported across long distances.
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Be a Weather Forecaster
Weather is extremely important to the production of maple syrup. A tree needs freezing nights of about 20 degrees and sunny days of about 45 degrees for sap to run. Record the temperature during the day and at night, and predict whether it will be a good time for the "running of the sap."
Tappity Tap Tap
If you are lucky enough to have a sugar maple in your yard, you can try collecting some sap. You will need a drill, a spout and a plastic bottle with a cap or a bucket with a lid. Drill a 7/16" hole in the tree about 2 inches deep 4-5 feet above the ground. If moisture collects along the edges of the hole, the sap is running. Insert the spout, hook on the bottle or pail and let the sap run. Make sure that you have some maple syrup on hand, because a single tap will yield only one quart of sap-not enough to make your own syrup. When the weather gets warmer, don't forget to remove the spout from the trunk so the tree can heal.
Looking for an adventure this summer for your teenager? Check out DEC's Environmental Education Camps!
Check out Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Day of Fishing at the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery
Saturday, March 28 at 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Through an interactive game and original fish creations, I FISH NY staff present a hands-on look at fish biology and local species identification. Cost: $5 adults, $3 children (age 3-12), $3 seniors. Adult programs will be offered earlier in the day. Visit the DEC website for more information and directions to the fish hatchery.
Mind Your Own Beeswax!
Saturday, March 28 at 2:00 PM
Join us for an introduction to beekeeping and to the vital role that bees and other pollinators play in producing our food and in natural ecosystems.
Introduction to Fly Tying
Saturday, April 4 at 2:00 PM
Join Pat Crisci, trout angler and fly-tying instructor, to learn why and how trout anglers create their own "flies." Observe a brief demonstration of materials and techniques; then try your hand at creating your own fly to take home.
Tivoli Bays Visitors Center
In Like a Lion, Out like a Lamb!
Wednesday, March 25 from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
March can be a wild weather month, so let's welcome the beginning of spring by looking at a newborn lamb!
Wildlife Ecology - How a Food Chain Works!
Wednesday, April 1 from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
It's a fox-eat-hare world out there. Join us in playing some fun and active food chain games to discover the amazing food web!
Outdoors After School
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM every Thursday- February 26 to June 18
A nature walk for grade school children and their caregivers. Each week will feature a different theme and habitat.
Maple Sugaring Open Houses
Saturdays and Sundays, March 28 and 29, April 4 and 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM
At our maple sugar open houses, watch sap drip from the tapped trees, and smell the syrup boiling in the evaporator. You'll learn to twirl a drill and pound a spile. Organized groups must register by calling 518-475-0291.
I Love Trees
Saturday, April 4 at 10:00 AM
A family program about trees, with outdoor, participatory games and activities.
Call 518-456-0655 to register for all events. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Discover the Pine Bush
Sunday, March 29 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Come join us on a journey to discover the Albany Pine Bush, the best example of an inland pine barrens left in the world.
Wild, Wacky Woodcock Watch
Friday, April 3 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Join us for our annual walk through the Albany Pine Bush to watch the elaborate flight displays of the American woodcock.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Saturday, April 4 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
The Paul Smith's College Sugarhouse will present fun activities for the whole family, including tours of the sugarbush and traditional maple activities. Please dress for the weather. Call 518-327-3000 to register.
Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 PM
Dave Terrazas will bring out his powerful telescope for you to view stars you have never seen before. Indoor and outdoor activities. Come even if it's cloudy.
Signs of Spring Walk
Saturdays during the spring at 1:30 PM
Look for plants coming out of winter dormancy, migratory birds returning to the area and other signs of spring.
After School Escape
Thursday, April 2 at 4:00 PM
Join us every Thursday afternoon for a fun outdoor experience to encourage children to play and interact with the natural world. For kids in kindergarten through fifth grade and their caregivers.