MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces December 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 winter.

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. Participants should wear masks covering mouth and nose inside the nature center and at public programs.

The nature center has a full schedule of programs planned for December. Most programs require registration in advance and space is limited, so Runge Nature Center Assistant Manager Becky Matney encourages guests to familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website at 

December programs at the nature center will include:

  • Kids for Conservation: Build a Bee Home
    Saturday, Dec. 11, 10–11:30 a.m. — ages 7–12
    Build a bee home to give to a family member, friend, or yourself. Discover which cavity-nesting bees may use your bee home and the role they play in our daily lives.   Registration required at:
  • Winter Backyard Bird Watching — Virtual Program
    Tuesday, Dec. 14, 9–10 a.m. — all ages
    Winter is a great time to watch birds in your own backyard. Virtually observe birds visiting birdfeeders and learn what species you’ll likely find in backyards, how to identify them, and how to attract and conserve birds on your property.
    Registration required at:   
  • Relaxing Drawing Collage: Flowers of the Four Seasons
    Saturday, Dec. 18, 1–4 p.m. — ages 14+
    Join the Runge collage drawing workshop — the culmination of all four Relaxing Drawing presentations from the past year, crafting them into one work of art. Participants will review the four wildflowers of 2021: Ozark witch hazel, spring beauty, Missouri coneflower, and bottle gentian, and create a ready-to-frame Missouri wildflower collage. Prior classroom attendance is not required to register. Runge will provide all art supplies.
    Registration required at: 
  • Cedar Wreath Building
    Wednesday, Dec. 22, 10–11 a.m., 11 a.m.–noon, 1–2 p.m., 2–3 p.m. — all ages
    Celebrate the holidays and help Runge make use of removed invasive red cedar trees and Oriental bittersweet by building your own cedar wreath to take home this season.  
    Registration required for each session:     
         10 a.m. —
         11 a.m. —
         1 p.m. —
         2 p.m. —
  • Fireside Nature Stories
    Tuesday, Dec. 28, 10–11 a.m. — all ages
    Bundle up and join Runge staff for an outdoor story time focusing on winter wildlife. Hot chocolate and a fire pit will be available to warm up. Geared for ages 0–6, but fun for all ages.
    Registration required at:  
  • Primitive Skills: Atlatl
    Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2–3:30 p.m. — ages 10+
    An atlatl is a primitive hunting tool created more than 20,000 years ago. Join Runge staff to explore the history of the atlatl and how it is used today. Staff will then demonstrate technique and give participants an opportunity to try it out.
    Registration required at:  
  • Beginner Fly Tying
    Thursday, Dec. 30, 1–3 p.m. — ages 10+
    Fly tying is an enjoyable way to stay connected with the sport of fishing during the winter months. Discover what equipment is needed to tie flies before creating your own to take home. Runge will provide all equipment and materials.
    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. 

Runge Nature Center will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 25, for Christmas, and on Saturday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. Trails will remain open 6 a.m.–9 p.m.

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