Maple at The Wild Center Tupper Lake, N.Y. - The Wild Center is a place where you can learn. Learn how the unique geography of the Adirondacks was formed, learn about the animals that call this place home and now, for the first time, learn about the art of maple sugaring. During the sugaring season, The Wild Center will be sugaring and have an assortment of demonstrations, activities and events to celebrate all things sweet. Watch how the sweet sap of trees becomes the highlight of a pancake breakfast and learn other ways to use this natural sweetener. On February 25th and March 17th it's all maple all day with maple stories, crafts, and tastings. The Adirondack Museum will share some of the local stories of maple through historical object and pictures from the past. You can also take a maple "tour" with experienced naturalists at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm as they tell the story of maple sugaring through the stages of tapping, processing, and finally getting to the sweet part, maple sugar. Take a closer look at an operational evaporator, catch some running sap and drill your own tap as we explore the local maple sugaring story. Learn how you can sugar at home. Those in Tupper Lake can join a new community maple project, led by The Wild Center and one of the first of its kind in the state. The Wild Center invites community members to tap maple trees in their yards and have it collected by a Wild Center representative on a daily basis during the sugaring season (once the sap begins to flow). Once returned to The Wild Center, the sap will be boiled down into maple syrup. Participating community members will receive 50% of the finished product (pure maple syrup) from the sap they provide. (Generally 40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of maple syrup = ½ gallon of pure maple syrup to supplier.) Organizations like Sunmount have already agreed to participate in the project. Two informational pancake breakfasts and workshops will be held at The Wild Center to educate the community about the project. The free ‘Art of Maple Sugaring Breakfast and Workshop' on February 24th and March 17th will introduce the natural history of maple trees, provide access to the latest in maple information, including the tools you need to tap a tree, collect maple sap and ways to participate in the project. You must pre-register to participate. Registered participants will receive a pancake breakfast, expert-led workshop, and the tools to tap your own sugar maple for the 2012 season, including one bucket and tap. Additional supplies will be available for purchase from The Wild Supply Company. You must attend one workshop on either February 25th or March 17th to be involved in this project. Families are encouraged to attend. Register at www.wildcenter.org/sweet. While Vermont seems to have cornered the market on maple syrup, New York State has an enormous potential to compete. According to a report from The Uihlein Forest for Cornell University, only 0.4% of the potentially tappable maple trees are used for syrup production in Franklin County. If Franklin County made and consumed more locally-produced syrup, the economic impact of the maple industry could increase from $300,000 to more than $4,000,000 annually. "We sometimes forget that we are surrounded by the ultimate renewable resources," said Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director of The Wild Center. "Miraculously each year maple trees produce a sweet sap that can be harvested with minor stress on the trees. Its rareness makes it a valuable commodity, unique to the northeast, but exportable around the world. This community project exemplifies how people and nature can thrive together, helping people and the economy during a typically quiet time of year and encourage forest management." For more information visit http://www.wildcenter.org/.
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