Maple sugar time

 

Tapping maple trees at Ryerson Conservation Area in Lincolnshire. (Lake County Forest Preserves photo)
Tapping maple trees at Ryerson Conservation Area in Lincolnshire. (Lake County Forest Preserves photo)

Maple syrup, yum. We love it on pancakes or dripping on French toast or sweetening what is cooking. But no matter how the syrup is used, in spring we celebrate it because that is when the sap turned into syrup rises in maple trees.

Luckily, forest preserves’ educators can tap the trees to capture sap, take visitors on hikes to see the tapping, taste the sap, explain how it is turned into syrup and say how much sap is needed for even a little bit of syrup.

Where to go

In Lake County, IL, the Lake County Forest Preserves’ educators and volunteers lead Maple Syrup Hikes through the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods.

“Educators are prepping a full slate of programs taking place in March,” said Director of Education Nan Buckardt. “We are looking forward to offering both in-person and virtual programs this spring.”

In-person, public Maple Syrup Hikes are offered Saturdays and Sundays, March 5–20, at Ryerson Conservation Area. Lasting one hour and held outdoors, the hikes run every half-hour from noon to 2 pm and are open to all ages.

Environmental Educator Jen Berlinghof noted that the temperature dictates what visitors will see along the trails. “The timing for tapping maple trees comes down to temperatures above freezing during the day but still below freezing at night, Berlinghof said. She added that other factors include precipitation and the hours of sunlight in a day.

Berlinghof explained that changing temperature causes the sap to surge upward from the roots toward the branches, where it helps the leaves grow and the buds bloom. Then in summer, the leaves will produce more sap, which will settle back down in the roots come winter.

“Visitors are able to witness the wonder of turning sap from sugar maple trees into sweet maple syrup. All registered participants can have a taste,” Berlinghof said.

Tickets for Maple Syrup Hikes are required. Hikes fill up quickly, so register early. Cost is $6 per person. Children ages 3 and under are free. Purchase tickets online or call 847-968-3321. Special sessions designed for scouts or other large groups are also available. Call 847-968-3321 to register a group.

“If your family is ready to hit the trails, we are providing free self-guided Maple Syrup Hikes from March 21–31,” Berlinghof said. “Through informational signs, you’ll learn the science behind how trees make sap and how we turn that sap into real maple syrup as you walk along the designated trail at your own pace,” she added.

Visit education programs and register online at LCFPD.org/calendar or call 847-968-3321. The Ryerson Conservation Area is at 21950 North Riverwoods Rd., Riverwoods,IL

 

River Trail Nature center in Cook County holds Maple sap programs (Photo by Photo by Amanda Nieves.)
River Trail Nature Center in Cook County holds Maple sap programs (Photo by Photo by Amanda Nieves.)

In Cook County, the Forest Preserves of Cook County hold virtual and in person sap programs at the River Trail Nature Center.

The first one is a live, free virtual program. See it and find info at Facebook Live from River Trail Nature Center 847-824-8360.

Called “Sap’s Rising,” The in-person programs are every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. beginning February 26 at the River Trail Nature center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook, IL. They will continue through March 19 at 1L30 p.m. For the March 19 event Vist Sap’s Rising,March 19.

River Trail Nature Center is at 3120 Milwaukee Ave Northbrook, IL. (Currently masks required indoors and unvaccinated visitors need them outdoors. But check when making a reservation.)  Reservations are required. Call River Trail at 847-824-8360.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

The art of photography via Ansel Adams

 

Ansel Adams, "Moonrise" can be seen at theLake County forest P:reserves' Dunn Museum in Libertyville, now through March 27, 2022.
Ansel Adams, “Moonrise” can be seen at the Lake County Forest P:reserves’ Dunn Museum in Libertyville, now through March 27, 2022.

Many admirers of the art of photography are familiar with Ansel Adams’ remarkable shots of the US western landscape taken in the 1970s. Arguably less known or viewed in an exhibition are Adams’ prints from the 1920 through the 1950s.

Now, “Ansel Adams: Early Works” a traveling exhibit organized by art2artCirculating Exhibitions, LLC, and sponsored at the Bess Bower Dunn Museum by the Lake County Forest Preserves’ Preservation Foundation and Dan and Shirley Mayworm, opens a portal to  the famed photographer’s interests, artistic development and his thoughts on his objectives. The works are  from the collection of Michael Matts and Judith Hockberg.

Wander through the Dunn Museum, worth a trip on its own for its early Illinois history and objects, to see “Moonrise” which proved, as a video in the exhibit explains, that some, great photography moments are unplanned.

Read the plaques that accompany the exhibit for insight into some of Adams’  observations of photography’s power. Going through the exhibit then retracing ones steps brings out changes in his artistic and unique view of nature.

One plaque reads: “When I first made snapshots in and around Yosemite, I was casually making a visual diary – recording where I had been and what I had seen – and becoming intimate with the spirit of wild places. Gradually my photographs began to mean something in themselves; they became records of experiences as well as of places. People responded to them, and my interest in the creative potential of photography grew apace.”

The show’s prints are part of Adams’ photo output. But to better understand the photographer don’t miss the plaques next to some of the photos. This one is next to Mount Brewer, Circa 1925, a vintage gelatin silver print.

“When I first made snapshots in and around Yosemite, I was casually making a visual diary – recording where I had been and what I had seen – and becoming intimate with the spirit of wild places. Gradually my photographs began to mean something in themselves; they became records of experiences as well as of places. People responded to them, and my interest in the creative potential of photography grew apace.”

Another plaque says that trees are not just trees. Look for a photo where the forest looks lacy then look for “Aspens” that is a study in design and contrast.

Dan Mayworm  who worked with Adams for a few weeks includes some pointers in the exhibit that he gleaned from Adams including “Expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights.”

A sample of what is in the exhibit can be found virtually at Ansel Adams Early Works Arc.

“Ansel Adams: Early works is at the  Bess Bower Dunn Museum of the Lake County Forest Preserves, 1899 W. Winchester Rd., Libertyville, IL from Nov. 6, 2021 through March 27, 2022.

For more information visit Dunn Museum | Lake County Forest Preserves (lcfpd.org) or call (847) 968-3400. To see an exhibit virtual sample visit Exhibitions.

Jodie Jacobs

Around town: What to put on the calendar

Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)
Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)

 

 INDOORS

Martin Luther King celebrations

The Art Institute of Chicago has a week of programs scheduled starting on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. That is the official “Martin Luther King Day” this year. “MLK Day” as it is often called, is the third Monday of January because it is close to King’s birthday on January 15

The first program is a virtual performance by the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and In the Spirit from 5-6 p.m. CT. Registration is needed but is free.

For more information visit ARTIC/KingDay and KingDay/Virtual.

 

OUTDOORS

Put outside activities on the calendar. Your forest preserve district has suggestions of where to go and what is available. So go sledding, cross country skiing, hiking. Or ice fishing.

Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)
Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)

Lake County Forest Preserves

As an example, check the winter sport’s page for Solar-lit Evening Hikes

On a 1.3-mile fitness trail at Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville and a1.65-mile hilly section of the Millennium Trail next to the Winter Sports Area at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.. This activity is for walkers, snow shoe and cross country skiiers evenings until 9 p.m. through March 14.

Also look for Sledding at Lakewood in Wauconda and Old School in Libertyville. Lakewood is lighted and open until 9 p.m. Old school is a day time hill. Snowboards, toboggans and metal runners not allowed.

For Cross-Country Skiing find groomed trails at Lakewood’s Winter Sports Area and at Old School, and along the Des Plaines River Trail between Old School and the Wright Woods Canoe Launch on Route 60. A 4-inch snow base is required for cross-country skiing at the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods.

 

Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)
Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship plus festival

A more than two decades old annual event, Lake Geneva, WI’s Winterfest 2021 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (visitlakegeneva.com)

is a fun outdoor getaway  that this year is Feb. 3-7. It includes the US National Snow Sculpting Championship between teams from across the country.

Best day to see the finished works is Saturday, Feb. 6.

There is also an ice sculpture tour downtown plus beach bonfires and a cocoa crawl.

Jodie Jacobs