More than 1,300 people gather to celebrate Maple Syrup Day at Chippewa Nature Center

There’s a sweet spot when it comes to harvesting maple syrup.

More than 1,200 people gathered at the Chippewa Nature Center over the weekend to learn all about it. And, not to mention, enjoy the Nature Center’s fresh maple syrup over a pancake breakfast.

It was another successful Maple Syrup Day event for the Center, even despite seasonal flooding having forced the closure of Whitman and Poseyville roads. The event has long-running roots, Chippewa Nature Center has hosted the annual tradition since the 1976 and it is always the first event they host each year.

This year, the event had attendance of 1,310 guests and served over 900 pancake meals, which totaled over 2,000 pancakes.

In addition to the tree-tapping and syrup-making demonstrations and pancake breakfast, the day included fun and educational activities like puppet shows, music and story-time. The Center also makes maple syrup taffy and teaches how Native Americans were the first to produce maple syrup hundreds of years ago.

Visitors also learned the process of how to make maple syrup at home. Part of the collecting process of making maple syrup on the Chippewa Nature Center grounds.

"Our mission is to connect all people with nature and this is a connection that people have had for hundreds of years," says Michelle Fournier, Interpretive Naturalist at the Chippewa Nature Center.

"We’re here to help continue this tradition and we wouldn't be able to do it without the wonderful help from the volunteers who help for the event. Maple syrup season is one of the first signs of spring and we are so pleased the community continues to celebrate with us."

The maple syrup season can last two weeks or two months. It all depends on the weather. 

That sweet spot exists when temperatures rise above freezing during the daytime and sink below freezing at night.

Once the maple trees start to bud, the tree begins to use the sugar found in its sap to feed the buds. The sap then loses its sweetness and maple syrup season is over.

For those that missed the daytime festival, Chippewa Nature Center will open its Sugarhouse to visitors every weekend throughout the month of March, or as long as maple syrup season lasts.

Chippewa Nature Center is located at 400 S. Badour Rd. in Midland.

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