By Richard DeVries
Winter is saying its goodbyes when the days grow longer and warmer. The snow starts to melt and the woods come alive. In the Sugar Bush we have to be prepared for the first signs of spring. A sure sign of spring at the Arboretum are the big yellow buses in the parking lot. The Maple Syrup field trips have begun. The children learn about the history of Maple Syrup. They visit the Sugar Shack and tap their perfect Maple tree in the Sugar Bush. Every day more blue bags can be seen hanging from the trees around the Berens cabin. Arboretum staff and volunteers add old style buckets, install basic gravity tubing and a modern vacuum system.
Blue tubing runs criss cross through the woods headed downhill to a storage tank. Close to 250 Sugar Maples need to be tapped in time for the first and sweetest sap of the season. We can only predict when this first sap-run will actually happen. The trees and the weather decide when the sap will start to flow. It comes and goes when spring starts the battle with winter and temperatures bounce up and down. Last spring it got too warm too fast and we received very little sap. All we can do is be prepared and hope for freezing nights followed by warm days. Visitors know we succeeded when steam rises from the Sugar Shack and the sap is being boiled into syrup. Make sure to stop by this spring and learn about the latest developments.
We will be stringing lines and tapping trees this Friday and Saturday, March 1 & 2.