Cape Nature Center’s FREE December programs include hunting Mastodons, woodworking

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host a Hunting Mastodons program, as well as a full schedule of other nature programs in December. Some programs require registration in advance, so Cape Nature Center Assistant Manager Jamie Koehler said it’s important guests familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website for the center at

Koehler said the month’s feature event is the fishing skills event Dec. 21 from 9 to 11 a.m., which focuses on trout cleaning with a cooking demonstration. This event will close the center’s theme for 2019 which was “A Year of Fishing”.  Those who participated in the year-long challenge will need to bring their booklets to the nature center by 9 a.m. Dec. 21 to be entered in the grand prize drawing. The winner will receive a fishing combo set.

“This has been a wonderful year of all things fishing,” Koehler said. “We’ve learned how to fish, how to identify fish, found great local fishing spots close to Cape Girardeau and now we’ll celebrate with a cooking demonstration, where our guests will be able to learn and then cook their trout over an open fire.”

Koehler said all ages are welcome to attend and registration is required.

“We like to think all of our programs at the nature center are unique, but there’s another one in December that strays a bit from the norm,” Koehler said. “We’re going to learn how to use the atlatl at our outdoor skills program, which is the tool that was used in hunting mastodons.”

Hunt the Mastodon will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. Ages 10 and up are welcome and no registration is required.

December programs include:

  • Wildlife: Feeding Frenzy, Thursday, Dec. 5, 1 p.m., all ages. No registration is required.
  • Fishing Skills: Kids’ Trout Fishing, Saturday, Dec. 7,  from 9 to 11 a.m., ages 7 to 15. Register in advance.
  • Nature Art: Nature’s Decor, Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m., ages 18 and up. Register in advance. 
  • Conservation Kids: Woodpecker Woodworking, Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., ages 7 to 11.  Register in advance.
  • Outdoor Skills: Hunt the Mastodon, Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m., ages 10 and up. No registration is required.
  • Little Acorns: Have a Green Holiday, Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 to 11 a.m., ages 3 to 6.  Register in advance.
  • Discover Nature: An Amphibian Afternoon, Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 3 p.m., all ages. No registration is required.
  • Nature Art: Holiday Crafts, Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., all ages. No registration is required.
  • Discover Nature: Candlelit Wood Walk, Friday, Dec. 20,  from 5 to 8 p.m., all ages. No registration is required.
  • Fishing Skills: Winter Bass Skills, Friday, Dec. 20, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., ages 12 and up.  Register in advance.
  • Babes in the Woods: Whoooo Hunts at Night?, Saturday, Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., ages 0 to 2.  Register in advance.
  • Fishing Skills: Trout Cleaning/Cooking Demo, Saturday, Dec. 21, from 9 to 11 a.m., all ages.  Register in advance.
  • Native Plants: The Holidays Are Over, Now What?, Saturday, Dec. 28, from 1 to 3 p.m., ages 12 and up. Register in advance.

Nature center guests can conveniently manage program registration online at The first step in registering for a program is creating a profile, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once someone creates a profile and registers for an event, they will receive details about programs they’ve registered for.

“Another popular feature we offer is our texting subscription,” Koehler said.

The nature center sends program registration reminders and updates to those who sign up by texting, MDC Nature, to 468311. Koehler said an online subscription is also available to “sign up for updates” at A variety of updates are available at this option, but Cape Girardeau specific updates are available under facility updates and news for southeast region.

Find information about age specific monthly programs, such as Little Acorns, Babes in the Woods and Conservation Kids, as well as other programs at Events at the nature center are free, thanks to the 1/8th of 1 percent Conservation State Sales Tax. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature is located inside Cape County Park North, just east of I-55 exit 99.