MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces April programs

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City is open and ready to connect you with nature.

To protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the nature center, total building occupancy will be limited to 50 people at any time. During busy times, some visitors may need to wait outside until other guests exit the building. Visitors will need to use enter- and exit-only doors, and should bring their own drinking water, as drinking fountains will be out of service. Guests must wear a mask covering mouth and nose and practice physical distancing while inside the nature center.

The nature center has a full schedule of programs planned for April. Most programs require registration in advance and space is limited, so Nature Center Assistant Manager Becky Matney encourages guests to familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website for the nature center at  To ensure public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, all participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose at all in-person events.

April programs at the nature center will include:

  • Mock Turkey Hunt — Virtual Program
    Friday, April 9, 10–11 a.m — all ages
    One of the greatest moments in hunting comes when you succeed in closing the distance between yourself and your quarry. This virtual program will bring that moment to the comfort of your own home, as experts attempt to call-in a wild turkey during a mock hunt. No turkeys will be harvested during this program.   Registration required at:
  • Spring Wildflower Hike @ Binder — Outdoor Program
    Tuesday, April 13, 1–3 p.m. — ages 6+
    Meet at Binder Lake in Jefferson City and learn how to identify many of the common spring wildflowers found in central Missouri.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at:
  • Relaxing Drawing: Spring Beauty — Virtual Program
    Saturday, April 17, 10–11 a.m. — all ages
    Relax and learn to draw a decorative pattern of a popular wildflower, the Spring Beauty, from the comfort of your own home.
    Registration required at:
  • Gems of Missouri: Freshwater Mussels — Virtual Program
    Thursday, April 22, 6–7 p.m. — all ages
    Dive beneath the surface of our Missouri rivers and explore freshwater mussels with MDC Malacologist Stephen McMurray. Discover the ecological importance of these shelled stream dwellers, threats they face, and conservation measures to protect them.
    Registration required at: 
  • Garlic Mustard Roundup — Outdoor Program
    Saturday, April 24, 1–3 p.m. — all ages
    Garlic mustard is an aggressively invasive plant capable of taking over the forest floor, preventing many native plants from flourishing. Help remove this destructive invasive species and earn your very own native wildflower to plant in your yard. Wear long pants and shoes that can get dirty. Gloves will be provided.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at: 
  • Beginner Kayaking @ Binder — Outdoor Program
    Thursday, April 29, 5:30–7:30 p.m. — ages 10+
    Discover the freedom of kayaking across open water. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about paddling, jump in and learn all the basics to get you water-ready. Meet at Binder Lake boat ramp. Dress to get wet.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at:

Visitors can conveniently manage program registration online at The first step in registering for a program is creating an account, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once registrants create an account and register for events, they will receive details about those specific programs.

Sign up for email and/or text updates from Runge Nature Center and other conservation news at

Events at Runge Nature Center are free, thanks to the one-eighth of 1 percent conservation sales tax. Runge Nature Center, located at 330 Commerce Drive in Jefferson City, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Thursday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Trails at the nature center are open every day, 6 a.m.–9 p.m. Visitors must practice physical distancing and wear masks covering mouth and nose when distancing is not feasible. 

For more information about events at Runge Conservation Nature Center, visit, or call the nature center at (573) 526-5544.