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

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

  • Learn to Fish: Trout Discovery Table | 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Jackson Rotary Lake | Registration is not required.

Join us at Rotary Lake in Jackson as we start the catch-and-keep season for stocked trout! We’ll have a measuring trough and leaderboard on-site to see who caught the biggest fish for the day, along with some giveaways. You’ll see examples of different baits and publications about trout, introductions to fishing, and other areas to trout fish – including fishing poles to borrow!

  • Nature Center at Night: Groundhogs | 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration is not required.

Sometimes winter days can feel dull... but the legend of one furry critter gives hope that warmer temperatures are on the way! Join us for an in-depth, all-ages look at these amazing – and sometimes troublesome – mammals. Learn about their adaptations, amazing life cycle, and a few tips and tricks to keep problem animals from damaging your property.

As this program is part of our “Nature Center at Night” series, the nature center and exhibits will remain open during this time.

Fly fishing is a unique and engaging way to get to know our native fish species! Join us to learn about equipment, technique, and interesting species to target with a fly rod. Whether you are an experienced angler or have no experience at all, this program will help with your fly-fishing journey!

Please ensure your MDC account includes an accurate email address so you can receive a link to the virtual program. Registration ends two hours before the program begins. See all free virtual and in-person fishing opportunities online at

Enjoy all the winter beauty on a 2-mile hike at Pickle Springs Conservation Area! This trail is designated a National Natural Landmark, and it will not disappoint. You’ll pass through beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forests, including a detour at nearby Hawn State Park.

Pickle Springs trail is rated moderately difficult with steep inclines greater than 15%. The difficulty of the Hawn State Park trail is easy. Participants will need to please meet at the nature center and carpool to the state park. And be sure to pack a lunch!

Discover the diversity of our winter waterfowl at Duck Creek Conservation Area! Enhance your birdwatching skills while identifying various species of waterfowl migrating through or residing on the ponds. We will first meet at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center for a small presentation about the waterfowl species we may see, then carpool or ride to Duck Creek CA.

Equipment such as binoculars and spotting scopes will be provided, but you may also bring your own. We will mostly be traveling around the larger ponds at Duck Creek and stopping when we spot waterfowl. Please note that most of the roads in Duck Creek are gravel.

This program is suitable for birders of all levels.


Check out details for all of MDC’s free February events online at Don’t forget to register your children and homeschool students for Little Acorns and Babes in the Woods story times! And be sure to check out the free Agents of Discovery mobile gaming app for our new Winter Edition Missions! Agents of Discovery is available for download through the App Store for Apple products or Google Play for Android devices. For more information, visit

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