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MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces March programs

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City is open, with public health precautions in place.

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 wear a mask covering mouth and nose and practice physical distancing while inside the nature center.

The nature center has a full schedule of programs planned for March. Most programs require registration in advance and space is limited, so Nature Center Assistant Manager Becky Matney encourages guests to familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website for the nature center at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZPf.  To ensure public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, all participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose at all in-person events.

March programs at the nature center will include:

  • Spring Mushrooms — Virtual Program Friday, March 12, 1–2 p.m — all ages Join MDC’s State Botanist and Missouri Mycological Society’s Mid-Missouri President Malissa Briggler, as she presents about mushrooms that pop up in the spring – including the beloved morel.   Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176144.     
  • Midweek Trekkers: Ha Ha Tonka State Park — Outdoor Program Wednesday, March 17, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+ Put on your hiking shoes and travel to Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton to join a guided hike on one of the trails. Trail: 4–5 miles; moderate difficulty. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose. Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176151.
  • Kids for Conservation: Survival Shelter Building — Outdoor Program Saturday, March 20, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. — ages 7–12 Practicing survival skills is a fun way to connect with nature while teaching valuable, potentially lifesaving experiences. Join in and roll up your sleeves to discover firsthand how to build a survival shelter.No more than one adult may attend with each registered participant. Additional siblings or unregistered participants may not attend. All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose. Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176121.
  • 3D Archery @ Runge — Outdoor Program Tuesday, March 23, 2–4 p.m. — ages 8+ Take on a new and exciting archery challenge at Runge! This intermediate program helps hone archery skills and introduces the basics of archery hunting. Meet at the Runge outdoor pavilion. Dress for the weather with closed-toed shoes and non-baggy clothing. The Runge archery range is not ADA-accessible. All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose. Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176090.
  • Forest Fun Free Play — Outdoor Program Wednesday, March 24, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. — ages 0–12 Unstructured free play at Runge. Build a shelter, study “creepy crawlies,” climb trees, and get dirty. Free play in nature allows children to test their physical limits, engage their senses, and practice emotional regulation, and is an important part of healthy psychological and physical development. No more than one adult with each registered participant. Additional siblings or unregistered participants may not attend. All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose. Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/176122.

Visitors can conveniently manage program registration online at mdc.mo.gov/centralevents. The first step in registering for a program is creating an account, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once registrants create an account 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. Visitors must practice physical distancing and wear masks covering mouth and nose when distancing is not feasible. 

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.