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Discover Nature

Published on: Nov. 14, 2013

There are so many fun, convenient, and inexpensive ways to spend time with family and friends, and to get out and learn about the outdoors, in Missouri. Whether it’s events, newsletters, shooting ranges, photo contests, nature centers, skills classes, or many more options, we have something to fit your busy schedule and your outdoor interests. Starting in January 2014, we will highlight upcoming events around the state — and let you know how to find more near you. We will also announce our new photo contest and tell you how you can participate. We hope you enjoy the season, and we look forward to offering you many adventures in nature in the new year.

NATURE AND THE ARTS — AN EVENING WITH TIM ERNST

  • DEC. 6, FRIDAY, 5-6 P.M. OR 7-8 P.M.
  • Southwest Region - Springfield Conservation Nature Center
  • Registration begins Nov. 19, call 417-888-4237
  • Ages 12 and up
  • Before or after taking a stroll outdoors, enjoy the scenic photography of nationally known nature photographer Tim Ernst as he returns to share images set to music from his latest publication, Buffalo River Beauty. Tim will be available for book signing from 6-7 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. For more information, visit Tim’s website at TimErnst.com.

PIRATES OF COLUMBIA BOTTOM: INTRO TO GEOCACHING

  • DEC. 7, SATURDAY, 1-3 P.M.
  • St. Louis Region - Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
  • Reservations begin Nov. 23, call 314-877-6014
  • Families
  • Bring the whole family to Columbia Bottom to be modern-day pirates through the outdoor sport of geocaching. This adventurous outdoor activity ties technology and nature together for all ages. Join us for a brief introduction on the basics of geocaching, and then try your hand at hunting for hidden treasures on the area. GPS units will be provided.

NATURE ART: NATURE’S DECOR

  • DEC. 7, SATURDAY, 9 A.M., 11 A.M., 1 P.M., OR 3 P.M.
  • Southeast Region - Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center
  • Registration begins Nov. 15, call 573-290-5218
  • Ages 18 and up
  • The holidays are here, and we’re in the mood to decorate! We’ll use nature’s resources to create wonderful winter wreaths, swags, and garlands. You provide a grapevine wreath (you choose the size and shape you want), and we’ll provide everything else to do your decorating.

EAGLE DAYS

  • DEC. 7 AND 8, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, 9 A.M.-5 P.M.
  • Northwest Region - Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Holt County
  • No Registration required
  • All ages
  • If you’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild, then here is your chance. Missouri is the winter home to thousands of bald eagles migrating from northern states. Open waterways for fishing and a taste for migrating waterfowl make Missouri a winter haven for eagles. Special activities, bus tours, and spotting scopes will be set up for your eagle viewing pleasure. See a live eagle up close at the eagle show put on by Dickerson Park Zoo, hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

‘TIS THE SEASON

  • DEC. 10, TUESDAY, 10-11:30 A.M.
  • St. Louis Region - Dennis and Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center in Forest Park
  • Reservations begin Nov. 5, call 314-877-1309
  • All ages
  • Squirrels and foxes are breeding. Other animals are denning up for the winter. Birds are gathering at feeders and many are migrating. We are getting ready for the holidays. Join us and relax from the hustle and bustle of the season. This program brings us indoors to highlight some of the bounties of winter. We will make a wreath decorated with fall and winter outdoor finds.

NATURE CRAFT NIGHT

  • DEC. 11, WEDNESDAY, 6-8 P.M.
  • Northeast Region - Northeast Regional Office
  • Registration begins Nov. 12 and ends Dec. 6, call 660-785-2420
  • All ages welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • It is time for our annual holiday nature-crafting event. Bring your family and friends to make ornaments, decorations, and bird feeders out of a variety of natural items.

BIRD FEEDER WORKSHOP

  • DEC. 14, SATURDAY, 10-11:30 A.M.
  • Southwest Region - Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and Conservation Center
  • Registration required, call 417-334-4865
  • Families
  • This is our annual workshop for families to build their own wooden bird feeder. Each family will be able to build one “hopper-style” bird feeder to take home. In addition to putting together the pre-cut and pre-drilled feeder, you will learn about the best types of seed to put into the feeder to maximize your winter bird watching. Bring a hammer.

SHORT-EARED OWL HIKE

  • DEC. 14, SATURDAY, 4-6 PM
  • Southwest Region - Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, Shawnee Trail Conservation Area (Mindenmines)
  • Registration required, call 417-629-3423
  • Ages 8 and up
  • Join us for a naturalist-led hike to search for our special winter residents, the short-eared owl. Discover the short-eared owl and other birds of prey as the sun sets on a local conservation area.

CONSERVATION CONNECTIONS

For regular updates on Conservation Department news and events, subscribe to one or more of the Department email lists at mdc.mo.gov/user_mailman_register. For other ways to connect with the Department, including blogs, Facebook, Flickr, Nature Shop, Twitter, YouTube, or the kids’ magazine Xplor.

DEER MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

  • DEC. 14, SATURDAY, 11 A.M.-4 P.M.
  • Northeast Region - M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center, Mark Twain Lake Dam
  • Registration required, call 660-385-2616, ext. 118, or email ted.seiler@mdc.mo.gov
  • Ages 18 and up
  • Deer workshop that will cover a variety of topics including habitat improvement, camera surveys, deer biology, cost-share, deer aging, diseases, managing deer on small properties with co-ops, etc. Lunch will be provided by the Monroe City Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.

KIDS’ CRAFT DAY

  • DEC. 14, SATURDAY, 10 A.M.-1 P.M.
  • Kansas City Region - Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center
  • No registration required
  • All ages
  • Kids’ Craft Day is a great way to make the holidays special. Make one-of-a-kind natural gifts, including creating your own gift-wrap, to give to the people you love this holiday season. For more information, email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

WINTER’S GIFTS

· DEC. 18, WEDNESDAY, 10-11 A.M.

· St. Louis Region - Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

· Reservations begin Dec. 4, call 314-301-1500

· Ages 3-6

· On the first day of winter nature gave to me… a cardinal in an oak tree! Come and celebrate nature’s winter animals as we practice counting in our own “12 days of winter” song. We’ll also read a winter story and make a gift to give back to nature.

NATURE CENTER AT NIGHT: MAMMALS OF MISSOURI

  • DEC. 19, THURSDAY, 5-8 P.M.
  • Southeast Region - Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center
  • No registration required
  • All ages
  • Learn fascinating facts about Missouri’s wild mammals — many of which make their homes in the diverse habitats of southeast Missouri. Find out what they are, where they live, and how they survive. Attend one of the two naturalist-led mammal presentations at 6 or 7 p.m. Youth and adult groups welcome.

NIGHT HIKE — BUSCH HIKING/BIKING TRAIL

  • DEC. 21, SATURDAY, 6-9 P.M.
  • St. Louis Region - August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area
  • Reservations begin Dec. 6, call 636-441-4554
  • Families
  • Experience the sounds of the night during a moderate night hike at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. We will hike the 3.5-mile Busch Hiking/Biking Trail listening for coyotes howling and owls calling in the cool winter night. The hike is mild to moderate effort. Gravel path in forest and fields with short, gentle hills. Winter weather can increase the hike difficulty to moderate.

WHOOOO’S IN YOUR BACKYARD?

  • DEC. 21, SATURDAY, 10 A.M.-2:30 P.M.
  • Kansas City Region - Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center
  • No registration required
  • All ages
  • Of the 18 owl species native to North America, eight live in or visit Missouri. Discover how to identify owls by their calls, shapes, and field markings. Put your owl knowledge to work as you create your own recycled owl and apply your scientific skills as you investigate an owl’s food chain. After learning about owls, test your knowledge by challenging a friend to our Owl-ology game.

NATURE BY DESIGN

  • DEC. 27 AND DEC. 28, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, 10 A.M.- 3 P.M.
  • Central Region - Runge Conservation Nature Center
  • No registration required
  • All ages
  • Holiday Happenings is often referred to as our Open House. Our theme this year is Nature by Design. Discover nature through I Spy nature games, natural shapes scavenger hunt, winter weed arrangements, stories, crafts and refreshments.

CONSERVATION DESTINATION: GENERAL WATKINS

  • DEC. 28, SATURDAY, 9 A.M.-2 P.M.
  • Southeast Region - General Watkins Conservation Area
  • Registration begins Dec. 3, call 573-290-5218
  • Ages 8 and up
  • Walking through General Watkins Conservation Area is a great way to spend time with family during the holidays. We’ll venture along the Schlosser Loop trail and then walk Cemetery Ridge trail after a lunch break. The total distance is approximately 3 miles and is easy walking. Participants should bring a lunch and drink and dress for the weather. The area is 15 miles south of Cape Girardeau, on Highway 61, or 1.5 miles south of Oran on Highway 77.

FAMILY PLINKING

  • DEC. 28, SATURDAY, 7:30-9:30 A.M.
  • St. Louis Region - Busch Shooting Range
  • Reservations begin Nov. 28, call 636-441-4554
  • Ages 8 and up. Ages 8-15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Bring the family out and try that new BB gun, air gun, or .22. This program is designed to get families to the range without feeling overwhelmed. Join our range staff for a morning of plinking. We will cover safety, parts of the firearm, aiming, and shooting. Then the family will have some live fire time.

FEEDING FRENZY

  • JAN. 9, THURSDAY, 1-3 P.M.
  • Southeast Region - Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center
  • No registration required
  • All ages
  • Thanks to some amazing animal care volunteers, nature center reptiles, amphibians, and fish are fed a delicious smorgasbord of crickets, worms, minnows, and more. Drop by to visit with the volunteers and staff as they feed the hungry critters.

CONSERVATION FACILITIES NEAR YOU

Conservation Department nature centers, staffed shooting ranges, regional offices, and hatchery visitor centers offer free programs, events, and information. Visit, call, or go online to find out more about what each one has to offer.

KANSAS CITY REGION

  • Kansas City Regional Office, 12405 SE Ranson Road, Lee’s Summit, MO 64082, 816-622-0900 - mdc.mo.gov/node/256
  • Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, 1401 NW Park Road, Blue Springs, MO 64015, 816-228-3766 - mdc.mo.gov/node/280
  • Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64110, 816-759-7300 - mdc.mo.gov/node/281
  • Lake City Shooting Range and Center, 28505 E. Truman Road, Buckner, MO 64016, 816-249-3194 - mdc.mo.gov/node/282
  • Lost Valley Hatchery, 28232 Hatchery Avenue, Warsaw, MO 65355, 660-438-4465 - mdc.mo.gov/node/284
  • Parma Woods Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center
  • 15900 NW River Road, Parkville, MO 64152, 816-891-9941 - mdc.mo.gov/node/283

SOUTHWEST REGION

  • Joplin Office in the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, 201 W. Riviera Drive, Suite B, Joplin, MO 64804, 417-629-3423 - mdc.mo.gov/node/292
  • Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center, 4897 N. Farm Road 61,, Ash Grove, MO 65604, 417-742-4361 - mdc.mo.gov/node/288
  • Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and Conservation Center, 483 Hatchery Road, Branson, MO 65616, 417-334-4865 - mdc.mo.gov/node/290
  • Southwest Regional Office, 2630 N. Mayfair Avenue, Springfield, MO 65803, 417-895-6880 - mdc.mo.gov/node/257
  • Springfield Conservation Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way, Springfield, MO 65804, 417-888-4237 - mdc.mo.gov/node/287

OZARK REGION

  • Ozark Regional Office, 551 Joe Jones Boulevard, West Plains, MO 65775, 471-256-7161 - mdc.mo.gov/node/266
  • Twin Pines Conservation Nature Center, Route 1, Box 1998, Winona, MO 65588, 573-325-1381 - mdc.mo.gov/node/293

NORTHWEST REGION

  • Northwest Regional Office, 701 James McCarthy Dr., St. Joseph, MO 64507

816-271-3100 - mdc.mo.gov/node/268

CENTRAL REGION

  • Central Regional Office and Conservation Research Center, 3500 East Gans Road, Columbia, MO 65201, 573-815-7901 - mdc.mo.gov/node/265
  • Runge Conservation Nature Center, MO Hwy 179, Jefferson City, MO 65102, 573-526-5544 - mdc.mo.gov/node/296

NORTHEAST REGION

  • Northeast Regional Office, 3500 S. Baltimore, Kirksville, MO 63501, 660-785-2424 - mdc.mo.gov/node/269

ST. LOUIS REGION

  • Jay Henges Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center, 1100 Antire Road, High Ridge, MO 63049 , 636-938-9548 - mdc.mo.gov/node/299
  • Forest Park Office, 5595 Grand Drive, St. Louis, MO 63112 , 314-877-1309 - mdc.mo.gov/node/10254
  • Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, 11715 Cragwold Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122 , 314-301-1500 - mdc.mo.gov/node/271
  • Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, 801 Strodtman Road, St. Louis, MO 63138, 314-877-6014 - mdc.mo.gov/node/298
  • August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Areaand St. Louis Regional Office, 2360 Hwy D, St. Charles, MO 63304, 636-441-4554 - mdc.mo.gov/node/300
  • Busch Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center, 2360 Hwy D, St. Charles, MO 63304 , 636-441-4554 - mdc.mo.gov/node/270
  • Rockwoods Reservation, 2751 Glencoe Road, Wildwood, MO 63038, 636-458-2236 - mdc.mo.gov/node/272

SOUTHEAST REGION

  • Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, 573-290-5218 - mdc.mo.gov/node/297

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