Learn about efforts to conserve Missouri’s biodiversity at Runge Nature Center

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host a FREE presentation at Runge Nature Center on conserving Missouri’s biodiversity on both public and private lands, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14.

As part of the River Bluffs Audubon Society’s monthly meeting, MDC Habitat Management Coordinator Nate Muenks will speak about how conservationists work to ensure the needs of all species are accounted for while minimizing the impacts from growing threats.

“Every plant and animal species has a unique function on this earth, however, built into those independent functions is a vast amount of interdependency,” said Muenks. “If one species fails (or goes extinct), there can be devastating consequences to the system as a whole.”  

Recent media attention to the plight of many pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, has generated a greater appreciation for some of the unseen tasks other species play in our quality of life as humans. These linkages between the natural world and our creature comforts include pollination of food sources, medicines, air and water quality, and aesthetics.

Muenks will present an update on and discuss the importance of a “natural community approach” to conserving biodiversity, which includes the recognition of conservation opportunity areas. This approach boils down to focusing on the conservation management of natural communities – or habitat systems – within which different species occur, along with the ecosystem functions and processes upon which they rely.

“The guiding principle is that providing proper management and connectivity of quality natural communities will not only serve to sustain current species populations, but hopefully bolster those populations in decline,” said Muenks.  

The River Bluffs Audubon Society meets on the second Thursday of each month from September to May at the Runge Conservation Nature Center on Highway 179, one half mile north of Highway 50 in Jefferson City. Guest speakers discuss birds, wildlife, the habitat which supports them, and other environmental issues. The Audubon Society and MDC invite the public to these interesting and educational meetings. The program meetings are followed by socializing and a general membership meeting for the Audubon Society.

While at Runge Nature Center, take time to enjoy hiking trails on the property and other rotating and permanent exhibits inside the nature center, designed for all ages.

For more information about this program, or to learn about other events and programs at Runge Nature Center, call (573) 526-5544, or visit nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/runge-conservation-nature-center.

Runge Conservation Nature Center is located at 330 Commerce Drive, in Jefferson City. The nature center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Thursday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Trails on the surrounding conservation area are open daily from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.