Saukville, WI, March 6, 2018 - As you descend into the sugar bush, search for the perfect tree to tap, start cranking the hand drill, delicately place a spile into your freshly made hole, hang your bucket, and listen closely for the drip-drop sound of running sap, it’s hard not to feel the deep sense of tradition and history that pervades the maple sugarin’ season. Area Native American tribes paid close attention to the flowing of sap, setting up and traveling to “sugar camps” each year to harvest and collect this valuable resource that was used in a wide range of dishes. Eventually, European traders and explorers discovered and traded for this seemingly magic natural byproduct from the tribes, eventually learning the process themselves and developing an industry that in the mid-1800’s put Wisconsin near the top of states in total sugar production.
Like Wisconsin, maple sugaring is an integral part of Riveredge Nature Center’s history and culture too. Celebrating a 50 years anniversary as the first nature center in Southeast Wisconsin in 2018, maple sugarin’ programs were among the first of Riveredge’s offerings. That tradition continues strong today, with a full production sugar bush where over 400 trees are tapped each year and thousands of students descend for field trips each sugarin’ season.
The community is invited to join in this long-running tradition in a series of special events, including Riveredge’s annual Maple Sugarin’ Festival. This year’s Festival, on March 18, is jam-packed with opportunities for all ages to discover how the sugarin’ process works from start to end and to learn how it is has influenced and impacted our area’s history.
Festival-goers can enjoy tree trapping treks, historical legends and experiences, syrup tasting, a live blacksmith and branding demo, scavenger hunts, crafts, and (for the “older” visitors) even try maple syrup paired with another longtime Wisconsin culinary tradition through a special beer serving from Cedarburg brewery The Fermentorium. The Festival runs from 10 AM to 3 PM on the 18th, and tickets can be purchased on Riveredge’s website ahead of time or at the event.
The entire community is also invited to a special Pancake Breakfast held directly in the middle of Riveredge’s sugarbush, coming up on April 8th this year. The breakfast features all-you-can-eat pancakes topped with 100% pure maple syrup right from Riveredge, along with ham, Colectivo coffee, and other beverages. With live music, this is a party that allows everyone to give thanks for the bounty of the season and to celebrate the arrival of spring. Attendees are welcome to join any time between 9 AM and 1 PM and can buy their plates on Riveredge’s website ahead of the event or do so in the sugarbush that day.
To learn more, visit their website or give Riveredge a call at 262-375-2715.
About Riveredge Nature Center
Celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2018, Riveredge Nature Center has been a pioneer in engaging people with the natural world. Its 379 acres of restored wild Wisconsin ecosystems, 10 miles of trails for adventuring, and a legacy of hundreds of thousands of kids, adults, and families transformed by a deeply intimate interaction with nature are a testament to Riveredge's passion for this cause. That passion continues today through the building of a movement to partner with local schools, communities, and organizations to bring the natural world into everyone’s daily lives.