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Families learn science of making maple syrup

Published: Sunday, March 16, 2014 6:03 p.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, March 16, 2014 6:38 p.m. CST
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(By Eric Schelkopf – eschelkopf@shawmedia.com)
Kane County Forest Preserve District volunteer Suzi Myers on Sunday explained to families the science of making maple syrup during Maple Sugaring Days at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.

ST. CHARLES - Nancy Reppe of West Chicago brought her two kids to Sunday's Maple Sugaring Days at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve because she wanted them to understand that maple syrup comes from a tree, not a bottle.

"It's important to understand how the natural world works," Reppe said. "We come every year. I want them to remember it."

Kane County Forest Preserve District naturalists showed Reppe and others how to tap a tree for sap as part of the two-day event. Unfortunately, the sap wasn't flowing on Sunday because of the frigid conditions. Blustery winds kept temperatures in the 20s and made it feel more like it was 10 degrees.

"Some years it has been like shirt sleeve weather," said Valerie Blaine, nature programs manager for the Kane County Forest Preserve District. Yesterday it was ideal. It was in the 40s."

The weather had already played havoc with the event, which was originally supposed to be held two weeks ago at Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve. It was postponed because of snow.

Kane County Forest Preserve volunteer Suzi Myers told those attending different facts about sap, including that it looks like water when it comes out of a tree because it's only three percent sugar. The sap is then boiled down to maple syrup.

The cold weather didn't stop Diane Hahn and her family from coming to the event.

"It is a welcome to spring," she said. "The maple syrup you find here tastes better than the corn syrup you get at the store."

Her 10-year-old daughter, Julia, found out what real maple syrup tastes like by trying samples from Funks Grove, which makes syrup just south of Bloomington-Normal.

"It's good," she said. "It's not too sweet."

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