The annual Maple Sugar Festival at the Kalamazoo Nature Center has a sweet new celebration this year -- the grand opening of KNC’s new Alice Batts Apkarian and Ara Apkarian Maple Sugar Shack.
Alice Batts Apkarian is the daughter of KNC founder Dr. H. Lewis Batts, Jr. She will attend this special event to share her fond memories of maple sugaring at KNC. “My favorite activity at the KNC was maple sugaring… The smells and tastes elicit some of my strongest memories,” she says.
Alice’s life journey has taken her to California where she is involved with, among other things, her local nature center. However, her ties to the Kalamazoo Nature Cente
r have remained strong over the years.
She and her husband, Ara, recently contributed to the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s “Two Leaders, One Legacy” capital campaign and asked to have their gift designated for the Maple Sugar Shack’s construction costs.
Rayline Manni, the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Vice President of Development, offered great appreciation to the couple for their very fitting contribution to the campaign. “We at KNC are touched by the Apkarians’ ongoing support and special interest in our most recent capital fundraising efforts. Dr. Batts’ legacy continues on through the very special relationship we are privileged to enjoy with Alice and Ara.”
The grand opening will be Saturday, March 10 at 10 a.m.
There will be activities throughout the two days festival including pancakes smothered in real maple syrup; an opportunity to stroll along a wooded trail with a KNC Naturalist for a fun maple sugaring tour. Maple Midway with games inspired by nature for kids of all ages. And adults can browse the Maple Market with maple-themed vendors and products. Festival-goers will have a chance to see the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Birds of Prey and other ambassador animals up close at special Creature Features throughout the day.
Other Maple Sugar Festival highlights will include visits to the DeLano Homestead for horse-drawn wagon rides (weather permitting), tours of the 1858 farmhouse, ice cream topped with maple syrup, and visits to a pioneer maple sugaring site.
Source: Kalamazoo Nature Center