MDC: Cape Nature Center hosts ‘Around the Fire with Lewis and Clark’ Feb. 19

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host "Around the Fire with Lewis and Clark," Friday, Feb. 19, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

"This will be a fun way to spend a wintery night, staying warm around the campfire as we hear what the land was like when Lewis and Clark traveled through Missouri on their way west," said Jordi Brostoski, a naturalist at the center.

Historians typically focus on Corps of Discovery events that occurred west of Missouri. In doing so, they omit some good stories and key events. Lewis and Clark moved through what would become the state of Missouri in about 10 weeks, but this area was both a launching point and an important testing ground for the rugged explorers that comprised the Corps of Discovery. They learned lessons in Missouri that helped prepare them for their expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back.

Things have changed a lot since Lewis and Clark's group explored our region. For example, Greater Prairie Chickens, a Missouri endangered species, once roamed our native sand prairie. Also, even before the expedition officially departed, the explorers found their first botanical species previously unknown to science. They discovered the Osage-orange tree (Maclura pomifera) across the river from their winter camp on March 26, 1804.

Brostoski said these details barely scratch the surface of what the Corps experienced on the Missouri portion of their travels. You can hear more during one of the campfire stories at 6:15, 7:00, and 7:45 that evening.

No registration is required and all ages are welcome to attend. The center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61). For more information on this and other programs at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, go online to or call (573)290-5218.