Are you interested in learning how to make your own maple syrup?

If so, come to the 7th Annual Backyard Maple Syrup Workshop at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center. It will take place from 10 am to 12:15 pm on Saturday, February 4 at the center, 354 State Highway 145 N., Simpson. The program is free and open to the public.

The day will begin with a pancake breakfast, complete with real maple syrup made downtown, at 8:30am

Breakfast is $8 per person and proceeds benefit 4-H. Pre-registration for breakfast is required by calling 618-695-3383 or emailing [email protected]

“Maple sap harvesting and syrup production is easy, relatively inexpensive to start, and a great late-winter project that can be fun for the whole family,” said Chris Evans, Extension forester. “Sugar maples, the species normally thought of for sap collection, are abundant in southern Illinois, but other maple species can also be harnessed to make this tasty syrup.”

The fully outdoor program will cover tree identification, equipment needs, tree removal, sap collection, boiling and finishing of maple syrup. Participants will see first-hand the processes involved in making maple syrup.

“We will have a demonstration of a syrup evaporator and an optional tour of a sugar bush forest, managed for maple syrup production and using a sap collection pipe system,” Evans said.

The University of Illinois Extension will provide an indoor maple syrup program for children at the same time as the workshop.

Registration must be completed by Friday, February 3 by calling 618-695-3383 or emailing [email protected] If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the program, please call 618-695-3383.