Discover nature with MDC Cape Nature Center’s free April programs

News from the region
Published Date

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

With turkey season right around the corner, many will be getting their calls ready for the season! This program is designed for new turkey hunters, or anyone wanting to learn more about turkey calls. Attendees will learn about the different types of calls, what sounds they make, what they mean, and how to best use them for a given situation. If you have turkey calls at home and would like to learn to be more proficient with them, please bring them with you.

Leave your phone at home and take this chance to relax and reconnect with nature! Time in nature is healing and is an excellent opportunity to slow down and focus.

Class may take place outdoors if weather permits. Otherwise, it will take place indoors with suggestions to further your nature time after class. This program is beginner-friendly, and mats are provided; however, you are welcome to bring your own mat and other props. Please wear comfortable clothing, and we encourage you to bring your own water bottle.

Participants younger than 18 will need to be accompanied by a participating adult; please register both people. Only those registered may attend program.

  • Wildlife: Do Deer Need Eclipse Glasses Too? | 1 – 2 p.m. on April 6 at Cape Nature Center | Registration not required.

This year’s total solar eclipse on April 8 is a spectacular time to see the workings of the solar system on full display! But what happens to the forests, prairies, and swamps of Missouri as the sun takes a brief hiatus? Join us for a fun look at how plants, animals and even weather can change in response to this amazing natural phenomenon.

What looks like a spikey dinosaur patrolling the murky bottoms of our southeast Missouri swamps is the largest species of freshwater turtle in North America! Join us as we dive into the natural history of this turtle and separate fact from fiction.

Upcoming Wildflower Hikes

Hike through one of our region’s amazing natural areas at Blue Spring Branch CA in Perry County! We will delve into the history of this area and enjoy its unique topography. This area is home to a diversity of plants, including some beautiful spring ephemerals. We will learn some tips and tricks on how to identify these pretty wildflowers along the way.

This trail is steep, difficult in some areas, and is slick in recent rains. Please wear sturdy hiking shoes with a good tread. We will meet at the nature center where you can choose to ride with us or carpool. Participants ages 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Spring is in the air! Birds are calling, wildlife is emerging from cold weather dens, and the beauty of Missouri’s spring wildflowers is on full display. Join us for an introductory look at spring “ephemeral” wildflowers, those that bloom and grow before the canopy of leaves shade them out.

The goal of these leisurely walks is to provide a wonderful nature experience to a wide diversity of ability levels as the hike is largely on gravel roadways and flat trails.

There may be uneven terrain on occasion. Please bring sturdy shoes, weather appropriate clothing, a bottle of water, binoculars, cameras, walking sticks, and snacks.

Program Registration

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.

Check out details for all of MDC’s free April events online at And don’t forget to register your children and homeschool students for Little Acorns and Babes in the Woods story times!

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. to 5 p.m. White Oak Trace Trails are open daily, from sunrise to 10 p.m.