CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – From Ste. Genevieve County to Pemiscot County, Missouri's southeast region touches about 250 miles of the Mississippi River. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites Missourians to learn more about the river at several upcoming events hosted by the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center.
"We have events coming up for people at all levels of the comfort spectrum," said Jamie Koehler, assistant manager of the Nature Center. "Some people just want to know more about the river, so we have our Nature Center at Night program for that. Others want to actually get out on the river and experience it, so we have two different opportunities for that, based on experience levels."
On Thursday, Aug. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., the Nature Center will host Nature Center at Night, an event focused on providing an opportunity to explore the Nature Center after normal operating hours. This month, Nature Center at Night will focus in on the Mississippi River with hands-on displays and a presentation at 6 p.m. Youth and adult groups are welcome to attend.
For those who are ready to navigate the river, the Nature Center will host a floating event Aug. 14 and 15. Experienced paddlers are welcome to enjoy a float from Trail of Tears State Park to Red Star Access on the Mississippi River. The group will enjoy lunch on a sandbar and explore the river with expert guides. This "Floatin' on the River" event begins with a Friday night session about navigation, river flows, hazards and other information. This event is for paddlers 16 years and older. Registration is required and begins July 15 at the Nature Center.
Day on the River, Saturday, Sep. 12, will offer a chance to explore the river on boats driven by MDC biologists. This event at the Cape Girardeau Riverfront attracts thousands of people annually.
"Day on the River is a huge event where we celebrate the river all day with a great variety of activities right there on and next to the river," Koehler said.
The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features live river animals, Asian carp samples, boat rides and much more. Everyone is welcome to attend and no registration is required.
"This event is designed to offer something to everyone with many different ways to learn about and explore the river," Koehler said. "We want to help people discover nature and the Mississippi River is a great place to start."
More information and registration information (if required) for each of these events can be found at mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter or by calling (573) 290-5218.