Sticky and Sweet Maple Syrup Takes Stage

Every March, Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook becomes a sweet place thanks to the maple trees in the surrounding preserve. It’s the season that naturalists and volunteers gear up for a steady stream of schoolchildren — up to 2,000 — who come out to learn about tapping maple trees and turning sap into syrup in the center’s school programs. It’s also the time of year that Fullersburg puts on its “Maple Syrup Puppet Show” featuring puppets Frank, Joe and friends.

For many years, center staff and volunteers have entertained students by manning the puppets during field trips to the center. Fullersburg conducted as many as eight puppet shows per day, Monday through Friday, during the season! This year, Fullersburg has revamped the educational offering, hosting the puppet show in specialized, mini-maple syrup programs oriented toward younger audiences. 

Although the puppet show has been a long-standing component of the program, naturalist Keriann Dubina says teachers and students need not worry over limited showings, since it is now available as a video on the District’s YouTube channel. “The puppet show video allows students who  come to our maple syrup programs  to watch it before attending their field trip,” she says. “It will lay some groundwork for what the students will be learning when they visit us at Fullersburg Woods.” 


Students learn about the parts of the maple tree, maple tree sap and the process of boiling sap into syrup as part of the on-site program. 

In addition to this program, visitors of all ages can get a sampling of this lip-smacking  treat in “Get Sticky! Maple Syrup Sunday” on March 22 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Fullersburg Woods. During this program, visitors take a 30-minute guided stroll through the woods to discover the secret of turning sap into syrup. The program is $10 per person. Advance registration is required by calling (630) 850-8110. 

Our maple syrup puppet show was first created by a District naturalist 20 years ago. Ever since, center staff and volunteers have brought its cast of characters to life to teach about nature’s seasonal happenings.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has connected people to nature for 100 years. 
Puppets Frank and Joe were created by a District naturalist nearly 20 years ago.  
Volunteers have helped out with programs — like the maple syrup puppet show — and its seasonal lesson over the years at Fullersburg Woods.
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