MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces July 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 July. 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 July 1 for all programs.

July programs at the nature center will include:

  • Conservation Kids: Explore Outdoors!
    Fridays in July, 9–11:30 a.m — ages 7–12
    During four Fridays in July, Runge will offer a different exploration theme. Sign up for one or all. Bring a water bottle and wear appropriate clothing and shoes (no flip-flops). Registration required at links below.  
    July 2 — Creek Crawl —;       
         * Early registration — now open
    July 9 — Archery —;
    July 23 — Fishing Fun —;
    July 30 — Kayaking Basics —  
  • Teens for Conservation: 3D Archery
    Thursday, July 8, 10 a.m.–noon — ages 13–18
    Take on an exciting new archery challenge with Runge 3D archery. This intermediate program will hone archery skills and introduce the basics of archery hunting. Begin with basic archery skills and then head to the woods to shoot 3D targets. Dress for the weather with closed-toed shoes.
    Registration required at:       
         * Early registration — now open
  • Discover Nature: Night Hike
    Thursday, July 8, 8–9:30 p.m. — all ages
    Join us for a night hike at Runge and explore the world that comes alive when we are typically getting ready for bed. Hiking at dusk will allow us to encounter a different side of nature and can transform even the most familiar Runge trail into a new adventure.
    Registration required at:     
         *Early registration — now open
  • Design with Nature: Rainbow Trout Watercolor
    Saturday, July 10, 9:30 a.m.–noon — ages 18+
    Discover interesting facts about the rainbow trout, a fish that’s as beautiful as its name, and paint a trout drawing with watercolors. Presenters will guide you through this unique way of painting and will supply all materials.
    Registration required at:     
         *Early registration — now open
  • Discover Nature: Sounds of Summer — Virtual Program
    Tuesday, July 13, 4–5 p.m. — all ages
    Discover the wildlife of summer by listening and learning about the many Missouri animals that are showcasing their unique sounds this warm and humid season. Learn why these animals produce sounds and identify them by their song though this interactive virtual program.
    Registration required at:  
         *Early registration — now open
  • Kayaking: Finger Lakes State Park
    Wednesday, July 14, 5:30–8 p.m. — ages 12+
    Join us as we go on a kayaking adventure at Finger Lakes State Park. Review basic kayaking skills before paddling out to explore the water trail. All kayaking equipment will be provided. Bring closed-toed shoes, a water bottle, and dress for the weather.
    Registration required at:
  • Outdoor Skills: Frog Gigging
    Friday, July 30, 1–11 p.m. — ages 8+
    Bullfrogs and green frogs are tasty amphibians. Learn the basics of how to gig frogs, which species you can harvest, and how to clean frogs for cooking. After an introduction to gigging, head to the ponds to try your hand at this outdoor skill. Wear shoes and clothes that can get wet and muddy. Bring a flashlight/headlamp and water bottle.
    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 Monday, July 5, in observance of Independence 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.