Friday, February 27, 2009

See us on TV!

If you'd like to learn a little bit more about our sugaring process and how it all works, then be sure to tune into the 9/10 news on Monday, March 2 from 6:15 am to 8:45 am. They will be showing a series of 6 short segments that highlight our sugaring operation and upcoming events. Included is a segment on how to tap a tree at home, how we do it in our commercial operation, a tour of our gravity lines and sugar shack, and a short exploration into maple treats and sweets! Later in the afternoon they will also air a short interview about the upcoming weekend events. It's sure to get your interest piqued in what we do here!

Event Cancelled

Our Saturday, February 28th event, Maple Folklore and Traditions is canceled due to low registration. However, we will have a sugar bush work day instead, so if you're still interested in learning about the sugaring process, you can come volunteer with us--there will be plenty to learn! We will probably focus on the sugar shack and get it cleaned up and ready to go for the evaporator training on Saturday, March 7th.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Celebrating Maple Syrup

Spring is fast approaching and with it, Maple syrup makers across the state are preparing for their busy season and annual labor of love. Soon the trees will be tapped, the sap will be flowing, and steam will be rising from stoves and evaporators as syrup is produced from the sap of the Sugar Maple tree. Just in time, the Friends of the Wagbo Sugar Bush is welcoming families to a series of weekend events to celebrate and learn about this awesome tree of the north and the agri-cultural heritage of “Maple Sugaring.”

The Friends of the Wagbo Sugar bush (FWSB) is an all volunteer-run program of the nonprofit Wagbo Peace Center that produces Maple syrup at the Wagbo farm. Proceeds from syrup sales and related programming allow the FWSB group to continue to operate the 1700-tap operation at Wagbo. The local community and out-of town visitors, young and old, can come to the Wagbo farm and share in this unique and important part of northern Michigan ’s history and economy. The FWSB offers hands-on activities and demonstrations through various programming opportunities for school children, adults and families so that everyone can join in on the fun!

The Friends of the Wagbo Sugar Bush provides training for new members. There are a wide variety of ways to volunteer – from making syrup and marketing to programming and pancake flipping – and opportunities to earn syrup. It is a great family activity! Tom Brown, long-time volunteer from Central Lake , had this to say about bringing out the whole gang to help in the sugar bush, “Put your snowshoes to good use! It gives the kids a chance to develop their whole body, not just their thumbs!”

Starting February 28th, the FWSB has a month-long celebration planned with a variety of programming for families, including interpretive hikes and workshops, leading up to our Annual Maple Syrup Festival. Three different weeks of snowshoe hikes will lead participants out to the Wagbo sugar bush, where we will tap trees and explore Maple themes and topics. (Bring your own snowshoes, or rent them for $5.) This one-mile venture overlooking the beautiful Jordan River Valley will lead us back to the Wagbo farmstead for boiling demonstrations and good Maple eats! Concurrent fun and educational activities are available for younger children, including petting the barnyard animals, and Maple-themed games and activities.

A workshop dedicated to making sap into syrup will teach participants the critical steps to making a delicious product on a larger scale in the Wagbo Sugar Shack. And once the sap starts flowing, our Sugar Shack is open to the public any time – just watch for the sign out front and the steam rising from the stacks (or give us a call to check on our syrup boiling schedule). The last Saturday in March, our Annual Maple Syrup Festival boasts a local food pancake breakfast, sleigh rides, music and a whole day of fun and games for the whole family.

If you are interested in exploring the trails with skis instead of snowshoes, Lou Awodey of Aspen Grove X-C Center at the Wagbo Peace Center is offering interpretive and nature cross-country ski tours of the Wagbo Sugar Bush and surroundings (concurrent with hikes, see dates and times below). Tours are $10 (cost of trail pass) and Lou has skis available to rent as well (special price, $5).

Consider a “silent sport” multi-adventure in the Jordan River Valley – and on the river itself! – by booking a snowshoe or ski tour paired with a guided rafting trip with Jordan Valley Outfitters! It’s a great way to celebrate this harbinger of spring and take advantage of the eco-tourism opportunities available here in the pristine Jordan Valley !

Our program schedule is listed below. If you want to schedule your group for a field trip, call or email: (231)536-0333, wagbo@torchlake.com!


Saturday, February 28th, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Sugaring Folklore and Tradition

Maple trees played a vital role in the lives of northeastern Native Americans and early settlers. They not only gave nourishing food after a long winter, but provided a pleasurable pastime as families came together in the sugar bush to tap trees and boil sap. Come learn the ways that Maple syrup was made before the days of tubing systems, vacuum pumps, and stainless steel equipment; and hear the folklore that surrounds this fascinating tree.

We’ll take a one-mile interpretive hike (on snowshoes) out to the Wagbo sugar bush, so come dressed for the weather! Everyone will get a chance to “tap a tree” and take home a “spile” for collecting sap from a Maple at home. Join us afterwards for a light meal including Maple-glazed ham, roasted nuts and brown rice pudding.

Concurrent children’s programming includes Maple-themed games and activities and tasting Maple syrup. We’ll stay outside as much as possible.

Cost $8 for adults, $5 for children, and $20 for a family. Work-trade is available. Snowshoe rental $5.

Please register by Wednesday, February 25th.



Saturday, March 7th, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Bring it to a Boil: Evaporator Training

If you’ve ever been curious about how a commercial sugaring operation is run, or have an interest in running your own large-scale operation, then this event is a must. Those interested in helping boil for the FWSB are encouraged to attend. Past Wagbo sugaring manager Ryan Romeyn will demonstrate on our own 5’x16’ wood-fired evaporator. Soup, Maple tea, coffee, and baked goods will be served. Please note: We do not have concurrent children’s activities planned for this event.

Cost is $8. Work-trade is available.

Please register by Wednesday, March 4th.



Saturday, March 14th, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Maple Ecology

Did you know that the sap of the Sugar Maple is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron? How about that squirrels will “tap” the trees to drink the sweet sap? Can you name what plants are often found growing under the Maple tree? Learn interesting and fun facts about the famed sugar Maple in its native habitat.

We’ll take a one-mile interpretive hike (on snowshoes) out to the Wagbo sugar bush so come dressed to be outside! Everyone will get a chance to “tap a tree” and take home a “spile” for collecting sap from a Maple at home. Afterwards a light meal including baked beans, cornbread, and Maple cookies will be served.

Concurrent children’s programming includes Maple-themed games and activities and tasting Maple syrup. We’ll stay outside as much as possible.

Cost $8 for adults, $5 for children, and $20 for a family. Work-trade is available. Snowshoe rental $5.

Please register by Wednesday, March 11th.



Saturday, March 21st, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Making Maple Syrup

Most everyone in the northwoods is familiar with the Maple tree and its sweet product, but not many make it themselves. Join us on an interpretive snowshoe hike (approximately one mile) out to the sugar bush to learn various ways that you can collect sap at home. Then we’ll return the farmstead to experience making syrup using small-scale techniques. We will also give a tour of our own 1,700-tap operation. Please dress for the weather as we will be outside for the entire program.

Everyone will get a chance to “tap a tree” and take home a “spile” for collecting sap from a Maple at home. Snack on tea, hot cocoa, baked goods and other Maple sweets afterwards.

Concurrent children’s programming includes Maple-themed games and activities and tasting Maple syrup. We’ll stay outside as much as possible.

Cost $8 for adults, $5 for children, and $20 for a family. Work-trade is available. Snowshoe rental $5.

Please register by Wednesday, March 18th.



Saturday, March 28th, 10am to 3 pm

7th Annual Maple Syrup Festival

Our annual family event to celebrate Maple syrup! Pancake breakfast served all day with real Wagbo Maple syrup and locally-produced sausage and bacon. Music, sleigh rides out to the sugar bush, syrup tasting, “pancake” flipping contests and more – plus view Maple syrup being made in our Sugar Shack! All food and activities are included for one price!

Cost $10 for adults, $5 for children, and $28 for a family, 3 and under are free. (Tickets available at the door.)



Registration Information

Call or email for programming details, to register, for information on booking your group, or joining the Friends of the Wagbo Sugar Bush – (231)536-0333, wagbo@torchlake.com. Or visit http://wagbopeacecenter.blogspot.com.

You can reach Lou at Aspen Grove Cross Country Center at (231) 536-9860 or lawodey@twin-valley.net; and Kay Harper at Jordan Valley Outfitters at (231)536-0006 or info@jvoutfitters.com.

The Wagbo Peace Center is located at 5745 North M-66, three miles south of East Jordan and just north of Kidder Rd.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Natural History Walk

Interested in animal tracks and signs, winter tree identification, traditional uses of plants, or natural history? Join us at the Cosner Nature Preserve on Saturday, February 7th at 9:00a.m., right across the street from the Wagbo Peace Center. (Park and meet at the Wagbo.)

Bring your snowshoes for a gorgeous naturalist-led hike through pine forest and cedar swamp. The talk will focus on the recent natural history of Cosner Nature Preserve- what the area probably looked like pre-European invasion, what plants and animals were found there, and what has changed between then and now. Afterwards, stay for a warm-up and reception at the Wagbo homestead and enjoy hot soup, cocoa, and baked goods. Then, stick around for sledding, skiing at Aspen Grove (right here at Wagbo!), or a tour through Wagbo's volunteer-run syruping operations.

The Wagbo Peace Center is partnering with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy to bring you this free and informative event. Please visit GTRLC's website to register.

Calling all Volunteers!

-Photo Preservation-
The Wagbo Peace Center is looking for individuals interested in helping us organize and archive our old photos and paraphernalia. Wagbo is steeped in a rich history that needs preserving for future generations. We desire an organized person(s) to go through our stored materials and scan them into the computer for digital safekeeping, and organize the hard copies into albums or scrapbooks. Call 231-536-0333 or email wagbo@torchlake.com if you're interested.

-Website-
Do you enjoy graphic design? Consider helping Wagbo develop an up-to-date website! Call 231-536-0333 or email wagbo@torchlake.com if you're interested.

-Maple Syrup Activities-
If you enjoy the outdoors, working with a great group of dedicated people or participating in northern Michigan's cultural heritage, then come join the Friends of the Wagbo Sugar Bush in preparing for the 2009 Maple syruping season!

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday pre-season workdays have begun (usually late morning to late afternoon - contact us for scheduling details). From tubing system repairs to tree tapping, boiling and bottling to our Annual Maple Syrup Festival preparations, there's always lots of ways to pitch in AND earn syrup while you're at it! The season typically runs through mid-April.

The Friends of the Wagbo Sugar Bush is an all-volunteer run group whose mission is fun and educational, while preserving an agricultural traditon. Call Wagbo at 231-536-0333, or email wagbo@torchlake.com.

First Friday Potluck

You are invited to another round of our monthly First Friday Potluck at the Wagbo Peace Center! This month, the activities start pre-potluck with half price trail fees (making it $5 per person) at the Aspen Grove Cross Country Ski Center, right here at Wagbo (!/4 south of farmhouse), starting at 3:00 pm. Bring your own skis or snowshoes or rent some at additional cost.

Then, it's a "vegan" culinary tour with presenter (and Wagbo Board member) Paul Murray. Bring a vegan dish to pass (no meat, eggs, or dairy please). The potluck begins at 6:00 p.m., followed by Paul's presentation and a discussion of the new book "The World Peace Diet" at 7:00 p.m. We are located at 5745 N. M-66, just 3 miles south of East Jordan.
Come with or without a dish!