MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces January 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 help you connect with nature in the new year.

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 January. 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 Jan. 1 for all programs.

January programs at the nature center will include:

  • Lobby Activities: Missouri Owls
    Saturday, Jan. 8, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. — all ages
    Test your knowledge and learn something new about Missouri’s owls. Staff and volunteers will have several ongoing activities about these nocturnal birds of prey available for all ages.
    No registration required.
  • Volunteer Open House
    Thursday, Jan. 13, 6–8 p.m. — ages 14+
    Are you age 14 or older and have an interest in conservation and Missouri’s outdoors? Do you like to share your passion for nature with others? If you answered yes, then you could be a candidate for our volunteer program. Learn more about volunteering at Runge, visit with current volunteers, and schedule an interview at our volunteer open house. Applications can be emailed, picked up at the front desk, or completed that evening.
    No registration required.
    Contact for questions or to have an application emailed to you. 
  • Owl Prowl
    Friday, Jan. 14, 6–8 p.m. — all ages
    Step into the nocturnal world of owls and discover the unique adaptations that owls possess for life at night. Learn about the different species of owls that visit and reside in Missouri, and what makes them each special. Then, venture out to try and observe one of these amazing creatures. Dress for the weather.  
    Registration required at: 
  • Birding @ Runge
    Tuesday, Jan. 18, 8–10 a.m. — ages 8+
    Join MDC naturalists and area birders to discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are suited for all experience-levels. Runge will provide binoculars and field guides for those that need them.   
    Registration preferred at: 
  • Eagle Explore at Marion Access
    Saturday, Jan. 22, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. — all ages
    Venture to Marion Access on the Missouri River, north of Jefferson City, to view wild bald eagles and learn about their conservation success story. Runge will provide spotting scopes, binoculars, a warm fire, and hot chocolate. Stop by anytime between the designated hours and dress for the weather.   
    No registration required.  
  • 3D Archery
    Thursday, Jan. 27, 2–4 p.m. — ages 10+
    Take on a new and exciting archery challenge with 3D archery at Runge. This intermediate program will help participants hone archery skills and introduce the basics of archery hunting. The program will begin with basic archery skills, covering safety, operation, shooting fundamentals, maintenance, and safe storage. Participants will then head to the woods to shoot 3D targets. Dress for the weather with closed-toe shoes.   
    Registration required at:    
  • Homemade Suet Bird Feeders — Virtual Program
    Monday, Jan. 31, 2–3 p.m. — all ages
    Keep your backyard birds happy with a homemade suet feeder. Join a naturalist, virtually, to learn about common birds you may see on the feeder in the winter and receive step-by-step instructions on making your own suet feeder.  
    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.