XENIA — Sugaring season is almost here.
And Greene County Parks & Trails is getting ready.
Residents can take part in the winter tradition — by taking a Sugar Grove tour, renting a maple sugar bucket, participating in a volunteer training program or simply eating pancakes at the annual breakfast.
Naturalists and park volunteers will lead tours of the Sugar Grove at the Narrows Reserve, Sperling Lane Entrance on weekdays between Tuesday, Jan. 22, to Friday, March 8. Tours must end by 5 p.m.
School classes, scouts and other groups are welcome to schedule tours, which will explain the process of sap transforming into syrup, highlighting original Native American techniques as well as modern techniques. The program meets school proficiency standards.
At the end of each tour, participants will taste samples of warm maple syrup.
Pre-registration is required before Jan. 22.
For a more hands-on experience, families can also rent their own sugar maple bucket at the Narrows Reserve for $25. Participants will learn how to tap a maple tree and collect sap into a sugar bucket. Participants will be able to check on their buckets to see how much sap has been collected. Sap will be cooked down and served at the annual pancake breakfast.
Families who rent a sugar bucket will receive four tickets to the breakfast — including maple syrup, hot pancakes, sausage, milk, coffee, tea and juice — to be held 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2 at Russ Nature Reserve, 2380 Kemp Road, Beavercreek.
Pre-registration for rent-a-bucket is required before Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Those who wish to volunteer this season can participate in a training program where they will learn how to lead maple sugaring tours, how to collect maple sap and cook maple syrup. The session will be held 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 14 at the Narrows Reserve Nature Center, 2575 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek. Training will be held indoors and outdoors. Current volunteers can also attend.