JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City will continue to offer a limited schedule of free public programs in October. All programs will either take place outdoors or will be offered virtually in order to ensure public safety in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose at all in-person events.

The nature center has released its program schedule for the month of October at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZPf. Most programs require registration in advance, and space is limited.

To protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the nature center, total building occupancy will be limited to 50 people at any time. During busy times, some visitors may need to wait outside until other guests exit the building. Visitors will need to use enter- and exit-only doors, and should bring their own drinking water, as drinking fountains will be out of service. Guests must practice physical distancing and frequent handwashing. Guests should also wear a mask covering their mouth and nose while inside the nature center.

October programs at the nature center will include:

  • Virtual Nature Tales: Not-So-Spooky Spiders — Virtual Program
    Wednesday, Oct. 14, 11:00 a.m.–noon — all ages
    Explore the nature center’s not-so-spooky spiders through stories, fun facts, and a visit from a live spider or two.
    Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174671.
  • Native Tree Identification — Outdoor Program
    Wednesday, Oct. 14, 3–4:30 p.m. — ages 12+
    Fall is a great time to get outdoors and learn about Missouri’s beneficial native trees and the role they play in the natural landscape. Discover how to identify trees using field guides and dichotomous keys while walking the trails at Runge Nature Center with a naturalist.
    Participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174701.
  • Healthy in Nature — Outdoor Program
    Friday, Oct. 16, 2–4 p.m. — ages 18+
    Join naturalists at Runge Nature Center for an afternoon of mindfulness and serenity in the forest. Learn about the many ways nature can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Program will include a barefoot sensory hike, a beginner yoga session in the forest, hammock demonstrations, and a hammock meditation.
    Participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174423.
  • Midweek Trekkers: Three Creeks Conservation Area — Outdoor Program Wednesday, Oct. 21, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    The Midweek Trekkers will travel to Three Creeks Conservation Area in Boone County this month. Bring lunch, water, bug repellant, and dress for the weather. Trail: Easy, 3-4 miles.
    Participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/173918.
  • Foraging the Ozarks with Bo Brown — Outdoor Programs
    Thursday, Oct. 22, and Friday, Oct. 23, 4:30–6 p.m. — ages 12+
    Bring your curiosity and appetite as author and expert on foraging Missouri native edible plants, Bo Brown, leads interpretive foraging hikes around Runge Nature Center. Copies of Brown’s book, Foraging the Ozarks, will be available for sale and signing after the program.
    Participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required for Oct. 22 at:
    mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174692.  
    Registration required for Oct. 23 at:
    mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174696.
  • The Hikers: Gans Creek — Outdoor Programs
    Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    The Saturday Hikers will hike Gans Creek Wild Area in Rock Bridge State Park.
    Bring lunch, water, bug repellant, and rain gear if rain threatens.
    Participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/172067.  
  • Discover Nature: Beginner Crossbow @ Runge — Outdoor Programs
    Thursday, Oct. 29, 4:30 p.m.–6 p.m. — ages 12+
    Archery has come a long way from wooden longbows to the modern crossbow. Join us as we learn the basics of how to safely load and shoot a crossbow and make our best shot with this easy and fun archery method. Dress for the weather in closed-toe shoes. The Runge outdoor range is not ADA accessible.
    Participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174340.  

Nature center guests can conveniently manage program registration online at mdc.mo.gov/centralevents. The first step in registering for a program is creating a profile, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once registrants create a profile and register for events, they will receive details about those specific programs.

Sign up for email and/or text updates from Runge Nature Center and other conservation news at mdc.mo.gov/GovDelivery.

Events at Runge Nature Center are free, thanks to the one-eighth of 1 percent conservation sales tax. Runge Nature Center, located at 330 Commerce Drive in Jefferson City, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Thursday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Trails at the nature center are open every day, 6 a.m.–9 p.m. 

For more information about events at Runge Conservation Nature Center, visit nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/runge-nature-center, or call the nature center at (573) 526-5544.

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