DAYTON, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s starting to be warm enough to feel like spring will soon be here. And nature has its way of telling us a new season is about to begin too.

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“This is a wonderful sign of spring,” said naturalist Crystal Wold.

She’s teaching kids about maple syrup at the Eastman Nature Center.

“Now we always tap on the south side. Do you guys know why?” asked Wold.

“Why?” asked the pre-school students.

“Because that’s the side of the tree that warms up faster,” explained Wold.

The sap has been stored in the roots all winter. But as the days and nights get warmer, the sap starts to push up through the tree.

“It’s part of science and it’s part of who we are and where we come from,” explained Wold. “And the resources of surviving in the wild and being able to live.”

“One, two, three,” the kids pounded the tap into the tree.

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“Whoa did you see that?” asked Wold. “A bunch of sap just came pouring out.”

Despite all the snow and the feeling that nature is really taking its time, the kids and Wold are hopeful that winter is nearly done.

“The chickadees started singing a month ago — their spring courting song,” said Wold. “So this is a great experience. It’s coming soon.”

“Catch a drip,” she told the kids as the sap dripped from the tap.

They can taste the change in the season. And if they listen carefully, they can hear it too. The sound of the sap dripping into the bucket made a rhythmic beat.

“That is the sound of spring,” said Wold.

Not surprising, there are lots of sugar maple trees up in Maple Grove. But you know it takes 20-40 gallons of the tree sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup.

Elm Creek is tapping maple syrup every weekend and there a big Syrup Fest on March 19.

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Joan Gilbertson, Producer
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