MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces May programs

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City has a full schedule of programs planned for May. Some programs require registration in advance, so MDC Nature Center Assistant Manager Becky Matney encourages guests to familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website for the nature center at  

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

May programs at the nature center will include:

  • Along the Trail: Exploring the Ozarks with Schoolcraft & Pettibone, 1818-1819
    Thursday, May 9, 6 - 7:30 p.m. – all ages
    Join MDC Regional Supervisor Brian Flowers as we explore the natural history of the pre-settlement Ozarks and how modern-day explorers can learn from Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s journey.
    Registration required at
    * Early registration – now open
  • Beginning Map & Compass
    Tuesday, May 14, 6 - 7:30 p.m. – ages 6+, children accompanied by a registered adult
    Learn the basics of using a topographic map and compass to navigate in nature.
    Bring your own compass or use one provided by the nature center and come prepared to go outside.
    Registration required at
  • The Art of Conservation: A Visit with Ding Darling
    Wednesday, May 15, 7 - 8:30 p.m. – all ages
    Legends of Conservation presents a performance by Tom Milligan as “Ding” Darling, visiting from his 11th floor office at the Des Moines Register. Considered by many to be one of the most influential members of the modern conservation movement in the first half of the 20th century, the impact of his work is still felt today.
    No registration required
    More information at
  • Common Trees of Missouri
    Saturday, May 18, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. – ages 18+
    Join MDC staff and learn how to identify 50 common tree species. Begin in the nature center before venturing out onto the area trails to gain practical field experience. Expect to spend roughly two hours outside and cover a few miles on the trails. Participants will receive a Trees of Missouri field guide.
    Registration required at
  • Saturdays @ Runge: Fishing Fun
    Saturday, May 25, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. – all ages
    Stop by the nature center and explore the wet and wild life of Missouri’s fish. Enjoy activities, displays, and go fishing at the Runge pond.
    No registration required
    More information at
  • Conservation Kids: Stream Team #667 Clean-Up
    Thursday, May 30, 6-8 p.m. – ages 7-12
    Wade in the water, pick up trash, scoop for live aquatic insects, fish, or amphibians, then take a break for a quick snack at the annual stream team clean-up at Runge on our section of Wears Creek. Don’t forget to wear old clothes and shoes to get wet and muddy.
    Registration required at

Nature center guests can conveniently manage program registration online at The first step in registering for a program is creating a profile, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once someone creates a profile and registers for an event, they will receive details about programs they’ve registered for.

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. 

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