Kelly Sakorafos explains how trees are tapped for sap, which is made into maple syrup, during a past maple syrup program at the Stage Nature Center.

Kelly Sakorafos explains how trees are tapped for sap, which is made into maple syrup, during a past maple syrup program at the Stage Nature Center.

File photo by Donna Dalziel


Tap into syrup at the Stage Nature Center

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 13, 2018

 Lead naturalist Debbie Williams and volunteers John Youngerman, center, and Bill Watkins demonstrate the syrup-making process inside the maple sugar shed during a maple syrup program.

Lead naturalist Debbie Williams and volunteers John Youngerman, center, and Bill Watkins demonstrate the syrup-making process inside the maple sugar shed during a maple syrup program.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

TROY — People can get sappy at the Stage Nature Center during Maple Syrup Days the first three Saturdays in March. 

“Maple Syrup Days is one of the highlights of our year. It’s a great way to get outdoors in the early spring and to experience our annual maple syrup program,” Carla Reeb, executive director for the Troy Nature Society, said in a prepared statement. 

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

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

The tours begin every 30 minutes and run 9 a.m.-3 p.m. March 3, 10 and 17.

Tours 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 a wood-stoked sap evaporator boils the sap into syrup. 

The evaporators operate for eight to 10 hours, and the temperature in the shed hovers between 80 and 90 degrees. 

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

Staff from the Troy Historic Village and the Troy Nature Society join forces to host the program. 

New this year, the Troy Historic Village will present a visual historical exhibit called “Pioneer Portraits.”

Debbie Williams, lead naturalist at the Stage Nature Center, said the sap harvest should be good this year because the thaw periods didn’t last long, so trees didn’t have a chance to start growing, which hampers the production of sap. 

Williams explained that this year, the program highlights the historical portion of maple syruping in Troy. 

“We’ll be focusing on the first settlers (Chester and Zenas Goodrich) who owned the property that became the nature center, and the other trees in the forest and their uses,” Williams said. 

Maple syrup and candy will be available for purchase courtesy of members of the Troy Historic Village.

The Stage Nature Center has launched the Troy Nature Society Endowment Fund, with support from the Troy Community Foundation, to raise $5,000, which the foundation will match.

According to the foundation’s website, troycommunityfoundation.org,  the group “is focused on supporting citizen-driven initiatives that promote the very best in our community.”

The Troy Community Foundation Endowment Challenge Grant supports nonprofit organizations in starting a permanent endowment in Troy. The foundation will provide a dollar-for-dollar match up to $5,000 for the Troy Nature Society Endowment Fund through March 30. 

“We’re almost halfway there,”  Reeb said. 

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

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

Walks-ins are welcome on a space-available basis. Register online at www.stagenaturecenter.com.

The Stage Nature Center is located at 6685 Coolidge Highway.