MDC Runge Nature Center to host volunteer open house Jan. 13

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Love the outdoors and helping others discover nature? Then join the volunteer team at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Runge Conservation Nature Center. The nature center will host a volunteer open house 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13. Interested individuals will have the opportunity to meet current volunteers and learn more about the overall program.

“Without our Runge volunteers, we would not be able to add as much as we do to our programming,” said Runge Nature Center Assistant Manager and Volunteer Coordinator Becky Matney. “Through their passion for the outdoors, our volunteers connect visitors to many different avenues of wild Missouri – whether it’s through art, outdoor skills, birding, hiking, or other activities.”

Potential volunteers will interview for open positions soon after the open house. Volunteers are selected based on the current needs of Runge. Once selected, volunteers will be required to attend a 20-hour training program over the course of seven weeks. Upon graduation from the training course, volunteers are required to work a minimum of 10 hours each month. Youth volunteers (age 14-18) will need to work a minimum of five hours each month.

Volunteers at Runge are involved in many day-to-day activities. Various duties include providing information to the public on the forest, fish, and wildlife resources of Missouri; presenting interpretive programs to the public; organizing and staffing exhibits; greeting the public; helping to implement special events; assisting with animal care and more.

“A volunteer’s desire to share and give experiences to others is what fuels their spirit and drive. This is what we look for,” said Matney.

Runge Conservation Nature Center is located on Hwy 179 in Jefferson City, approximately a half-mile north of Hwy 50.  Building hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday.  The building is closed on Sunday and Monday.  The outdoor trails are open from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily. 

For more information on this or other programs at Runge, call 573-526-5544, or visit