If you’ve browsed our community calendar, you’ve probably seen LOTS of local events this month dedicated to maple magic. That’s because it’s maple sugaring season!

The sweet maple syrup that you love on your pancakes and waffles can only be produced during Maple Sugaring season, which occurs in late February – April in Maryland. That’s when the weather produces a pattern of freezing and thawing temperatures (below freezing at night and 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit during the day) that builds up pressure within the trees, causing the sap to flow from the tap holes. Many of our local Nature Centers and parks are starting to tap the their trees and are inviting families to engage in the syrup making process!

“The art of collecting maple sap and boiling it down to make syrup is a sweet, seasonal tradition,” said Clare Walker, PhD, Master Naturalist at Irvine Nature Center. “The process itself has remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Late-winter maple sugaring represents a low-impact sustainable harvest, where we benefit from the northeastern forests, without harming them. On a more sentimental note, people love the tradition and the signal of a changing season. A promise that spring is near, sweet maple syrup is uniquely North American and has been bringing families together for a long time!”

Curious about learning how sap is transformed into maple syrup? We’ve got a round-up of local events below. Be sure to check with the host organization about registration policies and health/safety procedures.

Kid-Friendly Maple Sugaring Events in Baltimore

February 12 and 20 | Times Vary
Irvine Nature Center

It may sound sappy, but there’s magic in our trees at this time of year! A short walk into a deciduous forest in late winter can quickly become a sticky situation. Join Irvine’s naturalists for an outdoor hike-n-learn that is sure to be in great taste. Along the way, you’ll learn to identify maple trees and why this is peak season for collecting their sap. Practice using a hand drill to experience how trees are tapped and check the buckets where sap is collected. Then explore how the process of turning clear watery liquid into everyone’s favorite breakfast condiment has changed through time–from wooden tools and heated stones to the kettle system over an open fire to today’s evaporators and hydrometers. Practice using a hand drill to experience how trees are tapped, check buckets for sap and see how the sticky fluid is converted into syrup. You’ll even get a taste of this liquid gold as a reward for all the hard work. Four public sessions to choose from. MORE

February 19 and 20 | 11 AM – 3 PM
Cromwell Valley Park

Native people made sugar from the sap of native maples. Join Cromwell Valley Naturalists for ongoing cooking demonstrations, spile making, tree tapping, and sap boiling. Drop in program. FREE! Donations Welcome! Registration NOT Required. MORE

February 19 and 20, 26 and 27 | 11 AM – 4 PM
Marshy Point Nature Center

How do you get sap from a tree? How is maple sugar made? Who originally created maple syrup? Join Marshy Point Nature Center for a hike where they will answer those questions and provide interactive demonstrations; participants will help tap a tree, collect sap, learn how to make maple syrup, and have the opportunity to taste different types of syrup. Tree tapping hikes every our until 3 PM. $5/non-member. $3/member. Space is limited. Call 410.887.2817 to register. MORE

February 19 – 20 | Times Vary
Oregon Ridge Nature Center

Learn to make maple syrup from start to finish. Participants will visit stations where a naturalist will describe each step of the process. Individuals and families only. Register for an arrival time online in advance. MORE

February 28 | 11 AM – 12 PM
Marshy Point Nature Center

Introduce your little ones to nature’s wonders while enjoying stories, crafts, games, programs, songs, and outdoor activities. $5/child. Space is limited. Please call 410.887.2817 to register. MORE


*Note: Space in these programs was limited at time of publication.