MDC invites families to create a hellbender craft at Busch Conservation Area Oct. 3

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Saint Louis
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St. CHARLES, Mo.—They’re fascinating, unusual, and mysterious creatures. They are also endangered in Missouri. The Ozark hellbender is a truly unique species of salamander found in the Show-Me-State. Their one-of-a-kind appearance might be just the thing to spark your natural creativity.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding a Conservation Crafters: Hidden Hellbenders program on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area. There will be identical sessions offered at different times: 9:30-11:30 a.m. and Noon-2p.m. Each program is free and open to families and people of all ages. These are in-person programs that will enable family and friends to combine art with nature, and each family can make their own painted wooden hellbender to take home.

The method used in the program is paint pouring. “Paint pouring is a neat craft that has become really popular lately,” said MDC Naturalist Nicki Wheaton. “It is sometimes called fluid art because the paint has an additive that makes it move.”

The curious hellbenders are salamanders that are the length of a rolling pin and spend time hiding under the rocks of Missouri’s southern rivers. The program will also fuse education with art as participants learn more about these amazing and endangered creatures, and why September and October are especially important months for them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

This class is for all experience levels. It will involve use of acrylic paint, so attendees should wear clothes that can get stained, or bring a smock.

The program will be held outdoors behind the main building and families will be socially distanced. For the safety of participants and our staff, MDC asks all guests to observe social distancing guidelines and maintain at least six feet from others. Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when indoors, or any time visitors are unable to maintain at least 6 distances. Local ordinances requiring face masks will be observed where applicable.

Conservation Crafters: Hidden Hellbenders is a free program, but advanced online registration is required using the following links:

Participants should register everyone who is planning to attend. Registration will only be complete by sending an email to with the names in the party

The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located at 2360 Highway D in St. Charles, about two miles west of Highway 94.

MDC offers many free educational programs in the St. Louis region to help people discover nature, fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. Stay informed by going to the MDC St. Louis regional events page at