What makes winter so special for maple lovers? For about six weeks, from mid-January to the end of February, nature cooks up its own sweet delights within sugar maple trees as the sap begins to flow, ready to be tapped for making sugar and syrup. Anyone can learn skills to collect, boil down and, create their own maple syrup or sugar from trees they may have in their own backyards.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is presenting a series of free educational Maple Sugaring programs in February, the peak season for maple sugaring in Missouri. The programs are free, open to all ages, and will be held at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood. Some of the programs will be tailored to families, and others to homeschoolers.
Participants will learn the fascinating history of maple sugaring, visit the sugar bush to see where sap is collected, and learn how to turn the sap into syrup. The entire program is outdoors, so participants should dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear for a short hike. A portion of the trail is not stroller/wheelchair accessible.
In Missouri, this time of year is prime maple sugaring season because it produces the right weather conditions. It has the perfect combination of below freezing temperatures at night and above freezing temperatures during the day that causes the sap to ‘flow’.” The greater the night-to-day temperature difference, the more the sap flows. But come March, leaves and seeds open on the trees and the sap changes, calling an end the sugar production season. Sap from the sugar maple tree has the highest sugar content – about 3-percent – and produces the most sugar per gallon of sap collected.
The maple sugaring programs are free but advanced online registration is required at the following links. Participants should choose the timeslots of their preference:
Read more below for dates and times of the Maple Sugaring events.
Conservation Families–Maple Sugaring:
Saturday, Feb. 199:30-11 a.m., register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4ZJ
12 p.m.-1:30 p.m., register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4Z3
Feb. 169:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m., register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4Z4
12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m., register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4Zo
Feb. 2412:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m., register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4ZU
Feb. 259:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m., register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4Zw
Rockwoods Reservation is located at 2751 Glencoe Road, off Highway 109 between I-44 and Highway 100.
As these are in-person activities, MDC asks all participants to observe current local social distancing and masking guidelines. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when appropriate.
Program registrants should note that families now have the option to link their children’s accounts to their own which will streamline the program registration process. Once a group account is set up, parents will be able to register their children to an event without having to logoff and login for each person. This allows parents to register an entire family or select family members to an event at the same time.
Stay informed of MDC latest programs by going to the MDC St. Louis regional events page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZP6.