Beaver Lake Nature Center: Last chance for fresh maple syrup

— In Central New York, one of the signs of spring is it's maple syrup time at Beaver Lake Nature Center. The Beaver Lake staff is now preparing extensive programming centered around the year's "first harvest" including a demonstration sugarbush with six different stations to introduce visitors to the heritage of maple sugaring as well as an opportunity to sample the fruits of photosynthesis. The sugarbush will be open to the public and staffed with knowledgeable interpreters every weekend in March. The sugarbush will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.

In addition, the popular pancake breakfasts will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon each Saturday in March. Depending on the appetite, breakfast costs will range from $2.50 to $4.50 for a meal featuring pancakes, sausage, juice and a hot beverage. Maple goodies such as maple cream, maple candy, sapsuckers and syrup will be available to purchase from the Friends of Beaver Lake.

Starting a vegetable garden

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, Beaver Lake Nature Center will welcome a master gardener to the spotlight to provide insights into starting a backyard vegetable garden. Participants will benefit from an insider's knowledge on planting a garden that will be both manageable and rewarding, and on choosing which varieties to plant given certain soil and light conditions. $8; registration required.

Discover Hawks

At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29, Beaver Lake Nature Center will offer an in-depth look into the world of hawks. A naturalist will give tips for identifying different types of hawks and discuss the fascinating behavior of these predators. The presentation is part of the nature center's Field Guide Series. $5; registration required.

Natural egg-dying

At 10 a.m. Thursday, March 29, Beaver Lake Nature Center welcomes the coming of spring with a natural egg-dying workshop. A naturalist will introduce creative egg-dying methods and natural dyes, made from berries, spices and herbs. Participants need to bring one dozen hard-boiled eggs. $10; registration required.

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