Get sappy at the nature center

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 14, 2017

 Troy High School student Marvin Jiang, 15, shows how to make a spile to extract sap from a maple tree.

Troy High School student Marvin Jiang, 15, shows how to make a spile to extract sap from a maple tree.

File photos by Donna Agusti

TROY — See how sap becomes syrup during Maple Syrup Time-Past and Present, which is being held on the first three Saturdays in March. 

“Pre-registration for this popular event is suggested,” said Carla Reeb, executive director for the Troy Nature Society. “Walk-ins are accepted on a space-available basis.” 

Over 1,000 visitors attend the maple syrup program each year. 

“The biggest thing is the opportunity to get outside,” said Tina Catron, marketing and communications specialist for the Stage Nature Center. “It’s a great introduction into spring. It’s educational, but fun educational.” 

Volunteers at the Stage Nature Center present the 90-minute tours in partnership with the Troy Historic Village. 

The tours begin every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 4, 11 and 18.

Each tour will start with a guided hike through the area where the maple trees are tapped for sap. A guide will explain how sap is harvested. The tour will continue to the sugar shed, where the wood-stoked sap evaporator boils down the sap into syrup. 

“The sap masters are some of our most dedicated volunteers,” Catron said. 

The evaporators operate for eight to 10 hours, with temperatures in the shed hovering between 80 and 90 degrees. 

“The sap masters explain the chemistry and science behind it,” Catron said. 

Volunteers from the Troy Historic Village don historical garb and re-enact a sugar camp from 100 years ago. They explain how the sap was harvested and the maple syrup was produced. 

The tour will conclude indoors with mini-waffles topped with maple syrup provided by Whole Foods Market, Troy. 

Sponsorships for the event are available and range from $45 to $5,000. Call Reeb at (248) 688-9703 for sponsorship information. 

The cost to attend is $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12. Children younger than 4 may attend for free. The cost for members of the Troy Nature Society or the Troy Historical Society is $6.

Register online at www.stagenaturecenter.com.

The Stage Nature Center is located at 6685 Coolidge Highway.