It’s Sugarbush Time at Blandford Nature Center
March is Sugarbush season at Blandford Nature Center! Here's a chance to enjoy the sights and smells of the Sugarhouse and step back in time to discover how Native Americans and pioneers made maple syrup.
The Northeastern United States (and the neighboring area of Canada) is the only region in the world where Sugar Maple trees grow. This is the only time of year when the sap from those trees can be harvested to make syrup.
The early spring season brings about unique temperature changes that allows the sugar maple trees to release the sugar they produced in their leaves the year before. This sugar was stored in the tree's roots all winter. When nature starts giving us sub-zero nights and above-freezing days, it causes the sap in trees to "run" up and down the trees. It the trees are tapped, the sap will flow out of the tree during the warmer daytime hours. Once the weather remains consistently warm, the sap can no longer be harvested because either the sap stops flowing or it becomes sour. This sugary sap is then boiled down to make maple syrup.
During the Sugarbush season, Blandford Nature Center will have several special events...
Nature Buds - Wednesday, March 10, 2021 from 10:30 am-11:15 am. This event is also planned for Saturday, March 15, 2021 from 10:30 am-11:15 am. This program geared towards the youngest visitors and their caregivers. Find maple trees, learn how to tap them, discover what drips from them, and experience the sights and sounds of syrup cooking in the Sugarhouse. Cost: Members $5, Non-Members $8.
Journey to the Sugarhouse - Wednesday, March 10, 2021 from 1:30 pm-2:30 pm. Enjoy the sights and smells of the Sugarhouse and step back in time to discover how Native Americans and pioneers made maple syrup. Cost: Members $7, Non-Members $10, 2 and under: Free (registration still required).
Blandford Date Night: Sunset and Sugarbush - Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 5:30 pm-7 pm. Here is your chance to stroll through the maple forest as the sun sets on another Sugarbush season. A lighted path will take you down our Sugarbush trail, ending at the Sugarhouse where you will see how sap becomes syrup. End your night in the Schoolyard sipping hot cocoa while you get warm and cozy by the campfire.
Cost: Members $12, Non-Members $15. (This program is for ages 18+ only.)
Mini Maple Event - Saturday, March 27, 2021 from 10 am-1 pm. This event wraps up the Sugarbush season at Blandford Nature Center. You get a guided tour of the Sugarbush Trail. You’ll learn to identify the unique characteristics of a maple tree and how to tap a tree. You'll also explore historic pioneer and Native American sugaring techniques and end the tour with a demonstration peering into Blandford's Sugarhouse!
This fun-filled morning will also include a wildlife presentation, blacksmith demonstrations, a take-home craft, and time for treats! (THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT!)
Blandford Nature Center is located at 1715 Hillburn Avenue, NW (just north of Leonard Street) on the northwest side of Grand Rapids, MI.