Connect with the outdoors at MDC Cape Nature Center’s free December programs

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Discover nature in December with Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center’s free programs!

  • Nature Center at Night: Carter and Connelley | 6 – 8 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration is not required. 

Back by popular demand: Carter and Connelley! Listen as the nature center is filled with songs and stories about Missouri’s streams and stories of living outdoors. This musical duo has been entertaining audiences in southern Illinois and southeast Missouri for decades. This event is family friendly.

As part of our “Nature Center at Night” series, the building and exhibits will remain open until 8 p.m.

  • Habitat Improvement: On Fire for Wildlife | 6 – 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration is not required.

Join MDC Private Land Conservationist Rachel Settle for a workshop focused on utilizing prescribed fire to manage habitat for deer, turkey, quail, pollinators, and other wildlife! Learn about the history of fire in Missouri and how fire can be implemented safely to meet wildlife habitat objectives. Resources for prescribed burning will also be discussed including cost-share programs, training, and Prescribed Burn Associations (PBA).

This is not the Prescribed Burning for Missouri Land Managers course and will not offer prescribed burn certification.

You parents deserve a break! That’s why we are offering a program just for you while providing an equally awesome program for your children at the same time. Here’s your chance to practice and enjoy different methods of outdoor cooking while your kiddos enjoy fun naturalist-led activities and crafts in the adjoining classroom.

Please enroll all children and adults that will be attending. Childcare will only be provided for ages 6 and older.

This skills session will satisfy Part Two of Missouri Hunter Education requirements. To obtain hunter education certification you must also complete Part One (online, self-study, or classroom session) and bring along your skills session qualifier certificate or student manual with the review questions completed. Students 15 and younger must also bring a copy of their birth certificate or other proof of age. The final exam will be administered at the end of the skills session.

Please arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before the beginning of the class to complete registration; late arrivals will not be admitted. In the event of a cancellation, you will be contacted by email and/or phone.

Students who are 16 and older and have completed the all-online Hunter Education course are certified and do not need to attend an in-person skills session.

Students, get ready for a fascinating classroom session on waterfowl types, ecology, and habits! Learn design tips and apply those to fun and challenging sketching and painting exercises.

This class is more about things to consider or get better at than walking away with a finished drawing or painting. It is a primer to get students excited about entering the Jr Duck Stamp Competition. Participants should bring their own sketching paper and pencils. All painting supplies will be provided.

  • Conservation Families: Nature Center at Night: Winter Candlelit Walk | 5 – 7 p.m. on Dec. 29 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration is not required.

At this month’s Nature Center at Night, Ridgetop Trail will be lit by luminaries offering a whole new perspective of the forest! The trail is asphalt-paved, roughly 0.5-mile round trip, and is stroller and power wheelchair accessible After your stroll, enjoy a warm fire and some hot chocolate or cider! Groups are welcome.

This program is weather dependent and in the event of inclement weather or icy trail conditions, the trail walk will be cancelled.

As part of our “Nature Center at Night” series, the building and exhibits will remain open until 8 p.m.


Check out details for all of MDC’s free December events online at – each program attended this year will enter you in a chance to win the “Wild About Water” grand prize drawn this month. And don’t forget to register your kiddos and homeschool students for Little Acorns and Babes in the Woods story times!

Advance registration is required for most programs and can be completed online at All family members that plan to attend in-person and virtual events must be registered. First, create a profile. Once a profile is created and event registration is complete, additional details about programs will be sent via email.

If you’re having difficulty registering online, you may contact the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center at (573) 290-5218.

Stay connected 

Questions about events can be emailed to MDC Cape Nature Center Manager Laci Prucinsky at

The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center sends program registration reminders and updates to those who sign up by texting “MDC Nature” to 468311. 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.

Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located at 2289 County Park Dr. in Cape Girardeau, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. White Oak Trace Trails are open daily, from sunrise – 10 p.m.