MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces March 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 this spring.

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 March. 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

March programs at the nature center will include:

  • Design with Nature in Mind: Spring Watercolors
    Saturday, March 12, 9:30 a.m.–noon; 1–1:30 p.m. — ages 18+
    Capture the seasonal beauty of Rose Verbena and learn to paint with watercolors. No experience necessary. Program leaders will walk participants through this unique painting method, and participants may take their projects home to frame them.
    Registration required at
  • Midweek Trekkers: Moon Loop Trail
    Thursday, March 16, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    Grab a hiking stick and join a guided hike on the Moon Loop Trail in Boone County. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch.
    Distance: 6.2 miles; Difficulty: Moderate.
    Registration required at 
  • Doodle Socking for Crappie
    Friday, March 17, 6–7 p.m. — ages 12+
    Discover the technique of doodle socking in preparation for spring crappie season. Staff will reveal this interesting way to fish and provide tips and tricks for a successful fishing experience.
    Registration required at 
  • Woody Invasive Plant Removal
    Thursday, March 17, 10 a.m.–noon — ages 8+
    Invasive species such as bush honeysuckle, privet, burning bush, and autumn olive can spread aggressively and take over the shrub layer of a forest or alter a prairie, destroying habitat for many native plants and animals. Learn to identify these invasive plants and help eliminate them from the Runge Nature Center grounds. Participants will receive a native shrub to plant at home. Wear long pants and shoes that can get dirty. MDC will provide gloves and tools.
    Registration required at  
  • Native Plant Sale
    Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. — all ages
    Visit Runge Nature Center’s annual native plant sale offered in partnership with the GrowNative! Program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Shop native plant vendors, view demonstrations and displays, and make your own biodegradable plant pot to take home.
    No registration required.  

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.