Mike Farrell, the Director of Cornell's Uihlein Field Station, explains the process of tapping a tree at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
The recent cold temperatures bode well for a good maple syrup season – and in February and March, The Wild Center and the Paul Smith's College VIC will host several events showcasing how to make this quintessential springtime treat.
Over four weekends, watch how the sweet sap of trees becomes the highlight of a pancake breakfast and learn other ways to use this natural sweetener at a series of demonstrations, activities and events in both Tupper Lake and Paul Smiths.
The Paul Smith's College VIC will host two workshops for people interested in establishing their own backyard maple sugaring operations.
Toss out your old-fashioned maple taps – on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m., learn how to set up a modern tubing system with Mike Farrell, director of the Cornell Maple Program. A brief classroom session will be followed by hands-on work at the VIC's sugar maple demonstration site. Topics will include preparing the sugar bush prior to tubing installation; site considerations; line placement and installation; tapping trees; sanitation; and sap collection. Please dress for the weather and be prepared for a 2-3 mile snowshoe walk on groomed trails and uneven terrain. Bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the VIC.
On Saturday, March 23, from 1 to 4 p.m., learn about the art of maple sugaring with special emphasis on backyard tapping, collection and boiling. At this event, part of New York State's Maple Weekend, Paul Smith's College students will lead workshops and provide tours of the sugarhouse and the maple demonstration site. Includes program and tastings for the whole family.
The Wild Center will also host a pair of workshops on Sunday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, March 16, to launch Tupper Lake's first-ever community maple sugaring project. The project, one of the first in the state, invites area residents to tap maple trees in their own yards. The Wild Center will collect the sap daily once it starts to flow, ultimately boiling it down into maple syrup.
To participate, attend the free "Art of Maple Sugaring Breakfast and Workshop." Registered participants will get a pancake breakfast, an introduction to the natural history of maple trees, expert instruction and tapping tools. Additional supplies will be available for purchase from The Wild Supply Company. Advanced registration is required; attendance at either workshop is necessary to participate in the project. Families are encouraged to attend.
After the workshops end, it's all maple all day at The Wild Center, with maple stories, crafts and tastings on Feb. 24 and March 16. The Adirondack Museum will share local maple sugaring stories through historical objects and pictures from the past. Get insight into the sugaring process from experienced naturalists at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. as they discuss tapping trees, processing sap, and – the sweet part - maple sugar. Take a closer look at an operational evaporator, catch some running sap and drill your own tap as we explore the local maple-sugaring story.
All events are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Visit wildcenter.org/sweet to register for events at The Wild Center or call 359-7800. For events at the Paul Smith's College VIC, contact Brian McDonnell at 327-6241 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit us online at northernnewyorkmaple.com.