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February 19, 2014

It’s Maple Syrup Time at the nature center

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Geoff Hoerauf stirs sugar from the sap during a maple syrup event at the nature center last year.

Turns out, the bitter cold temperatures are good for one thing — maple syrup.

“Cold weather is good,” said Carla Reeb, executive director of the Troy Nature Society. “We’re hoping for a little thaw, then cold. That really gets the sap going.”

The maple trees at the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center will be tapped Feb. 22.

Those who have “rented” a tap will receive a bucket filled with maple syrup and maple sugar goodies from a previous year’s harvest.

Reeb explained that the sap from the trees at the nature center will be boiled down, but it takes some time for the sap to become syrup.

“It’s a slow process,” she said.

Volunteers from the Troy Historic Village will show how farmers in the Troy area harvested the sap to make maple sugar and syrup 100 years ago during the Maple Syrup Time: Past and Present program March 1, 8 and 15.

This is the second year the Troy Historic Village and the Troy Nature Society have teamed up for the event.

Last year, more than 1,000 people attended the maple syrup program.

Participants hit the trails at the nature center to sample sap, visit the working sugar shed and see a wood-stoked sap evaporator. The presentation aims to depict the sugar camps that operated on farms in Troy 100 years ago.

Loraine Campbell, director of the Troy Historic Village, said the Lakie family — who used to own the white barn that now serves as the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church on Livernois — operated a sugar evaporator on their property as late as 1920.

“We thought, let’s talk about maple syrup in our Troy area,” Campbell said. “It’s an incredible story. For all of us, it’s kind of timeless.”

The Troy Historic Village and the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center will host Maple Syrup Time: Past and Present at the nature center, 6685 Coolidge, every half hour between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 1, 8 and 15. To guarantee a specific time, register at www.troynature society.org. Walks-ins are welcome. The cost is $8 for adults, $6 for kids ages 4-12, and $6 for members of the Troy Historic Village or the Troy Nature Society.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.