Volunteers Learn to Tap Maple Trees

A child inserts a spile into a tree stump which in a living tree would then drain the sap, during the Maple Syrup Festival, at the Indian Creek Nature Center, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Families gathered to learn how to identify a maple tree, how to tap the tree, as well as how to boil the sap into syrup. Families were also invited to enjoy a pancake breakfast with their home made maple syrup. Indian Creek has gathered around 600 gallons of sap this season, despite the unseasonable temperatures.

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By Rachel Begle

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - About 20 volunteers learned how to tap maple trees for syrup at a Cedar Falls nature reserve.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (http://bit.ly/1fmhQah ) that most of the volunteers at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center were children and their parents.

All the participants put on snowshoes to trek into the forest. Program coordinator Chris Anderson says trees have to be 8-inches around before they are tapped.

Jenny Miller says she grew up in Maine, so she wanted to bring her 5-year-old son, Gabe, to experience what she did when tapping maple trees with her father.

A 1 1/2-inch hole was drilled in the trees before a metal spout was inserted. Then a bucket was hung up.

It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

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