Nature Journaling #256: From Tree Sap to Maple Sugar

Nature journals are a fun way to pass the time. To many Great Parks nature interpreters, they are a tool that fosters meaningful connections with the natural world.

Join us in keeping a nature journal throughout 2021. This is your journal – something to help you connect to the natural world around you and make discoveries along the way.

If the weather is too awful to go outside for your nature observation, take a peak out a window from the comfort of inside your home! If you do venture outside, you may want to take a small pocket notebook to make notes or quick sketches to work further with them when you get back inside. Also, use a pencil – ink in a pen could freeze if it is too cold! Any notebook will work for your journal.

It's a sunny winter day. Two light blue buckets are attached to maple trees, tapping the trees of their maple sugar.
You might notice buckets attached to certain trees. These are tapping the trees of their maple sugar!

Today’s Prompt: From Tree Sap to Maple Sugar

Traditionally, February is the month where we get sunny days when temperatures can reach into the 40s and nights are still cold and drop below freezing. Not this week! But that won’t stop maple sugar farmers.

This is the time of year when maple sugar farmers begin to collect the sap from sugar maple trees and turn them into syrup and sugar. It takes a lot of work to do that! If you spy some sugar maple trees, how have they changed? Do you notice any contraptions on the trees?

If there are not sugar maple trees in your neighborhood, take a closer look at the trees around you. Can you notice any changes in the trees? Describe in your journal what you observe on a few of the trees.

A Few Tips for Success:

  • Work with your child’s attention span. If they aren’t enjoying an activity, allow them to choose a new one. If they are highly focused, give them plenty of time to continue the observations.
  • Allow creativity. Children often have interests that go beyond the questions we pose. Create a safe environment so they can create and explore on their terms.
  • Journal along with your child. You never know what you may discover and it’s a great way to spend some quality time together.
  • Try activities at different times of day. Observations may change with time and temperature.

Want to try your hand at different nature journaling topics? Click here for more prompts.