MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces August 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 this summer.

To help ensure public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, MDC asks all visitors to observe current, local guidelines regarding physical distancing and masking. MDC encourages participants to bring and wear face coverings when appropriate.

The nature center has a full schedule of programs planned for August. 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 at

Unless otherwise noted, registration opens Aug. 1 for all programs.

August programs at the nature center will include:

  • Reptiles: Tails, Scales, and Shells — Virtual Program
    Wednesday Aug. 4, 3–4 p.m — all ages
    Why do snakes stick out their tongues? How tough is a turtle’s shell? Slither into this virtual, naturalist-led program that will include activities, slides, and live animals. Instructors will dispel fear and make connections to help participants learn the unique and important roles reptiles play in Missouri.
    Registration required at:
         * Early registration — now open
  • Insects at Night
    Friday, Aug. 6, 9–11 p.m. — all ages
    Discover the wonderful and mysterious insect life that comes out after dark.
    Registration required at:
         * Early registration — now open
  • Discover Nature: Tree ID
    Saturday, Aug. 14, 9–11 a.m. — ages 12+
    Join a Runge naturalist on an informational hike and take a moment to really get to know the trees around you. Participants will become equipped with the tools to identify trees, in addition to discovering Missouri’s most common trees.
    Registration required at:
  • Midweek Trekkers: Graham Cave State Park
    Wednesday, Aug. 18, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    Put on your hiking shoes and travel to Graham Cave State Park in Montgomery County to join a guided hike. Distance: 4 miles; difficulty: moderate. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle and pack a lunch/snack.
    Registration required at:  
  • Discover Nature: Migratory Insects — Virtual Program
    Thursday, Aug. 26, 4–5 p.m. — ages 12+
    During the fall, a monarch, which weighs half as much as a paperclip, may travel 50 to 100 miles a day and migrate a total of 3,000 miles over two months. Learn all about this incredible journey and those made by a variety of other fantastic insect migrators.
    Registration required at:         
         *Early registration — now open
  • Conservation Kids: Animal Olympic Games
    Saturday, Aug. 28, 9–11 a.m. — ages 7–12
    Humans aren’t the only animals that can be athletes. Come be a part of the Animal Olympic Games. Discover who are the strongest, fastest, and smartest animal athletes in Missouri, and how humans measure up to these critter Olympians.
    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.

Families now have the option to link their children’s accounts to their own accounts which will streamline the program registration process.  Once a group account is set up, parents will be able to register their children to an event without having to logoff and login for each individual.  This functionality will allow parents to register their entire family or select family members to an event at the same time.  First, users will log into their account and click “My Group Profile,” then add family members to their account.  Setting up a group account today will make program registration quicker and easier for all MDC 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 should 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.