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Climate change is affecting the KNC Maple Sugar Festival

Maple syrup is displayed in a transparent glass bottle shaped like a maple leaf
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
A bottle of maple syrup in Gorham, Maine in 2016.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center says both nights and days are getting warmer, making it more difficult to extract sap.

Maple syrup lovers will once again gather at the Kalamazoo Nature Center March 5th and 6th for its annual Maple Sugar Festival. But within a few generations Kalamazoo may become too warm for maple sugaring.

To extract syrup from a maple tree, sap has to flow between the roots and the branches. This flow only happens with a consistent balance of warm days and cold nights, said Jessica Simons, the vice president for conservation stewardship for the Nature Center.

“We've moved up the week," Simons said of the festival. "It used to be held at the end of March every year, and we keep moving it up a weekend at a time because there have been too many years where it simply got too warm too early too fast and the sap flow had already finished by the time we got the festival.”
Simons says the Nature Center is planting maple trees from Ohio. They may do better in warmer conditions.