MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces May programs

News from the region
Published Date

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.

To protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the nature center, total building occupancy will be limited to 50 people at any time. During busy times, some visitors may need to wait outside until other guests exit the building. Visitors will need to use enter- and exit-only doors, and should bring their own drinking water, as drinking fountains will be out of service. Guests must wear a mask covering mouth and nose, and practice physical distancing, while inside the nature center and at all in-person events.

The nature center has a full schedule of programs planned for May. 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 for the nature center at

May programs at the nature center will include:

  • Design with Nature: Nature Journal — Indoor Program (Limited Capacity)
    Saturday, May 8, 9:30 a.m.–noon; OR 1–3:30 p.m. — ages 18+
    Create a decorative 5” x 7” nature journal. MDC will provide all supplies, including embellishments.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required for morning program at:;
    Registration required for afternoon program at:
  • Kayaking @ Binder Lake — Outdoor Program
    Friday, May 14, 1–3 p.m. — ages 10+
    If you have ever wanted to learn more about kayaking, jump in and join Runge staff to cover all the basics and get you water ready. Meet at the Binder Lake boat ramp in Jefferson City.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at:
  • Technology in Nature — Virtual Program
    Friday, May 21, 3–4 p.m. — ages 8+
    iNaturalist and Seek are two apps that encourage users to carefully observe nature, help identify a variety of plants and animals, and share your observations with professional scientists. Learn how to use these apps to boost your nature experience in this virtual program. 
    Registration required at:
  • The Hikers: Clifty Creek Conservation Area — Outdoor Program
    Saturday, May 22, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    Put on your hiking shoes and travel to Clifty Creek Conservation Area near Dixon in Maries County to join a guided hike along one of the trails.
    Trail: 3–4 miles, moderate difficulty. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle and pack a lunch or snack.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    Registration required at:
  • Conservation Kids: Stream Team #667 Clean Up — Outdoor Program
    Saturday, May 22, 1–3 p.m. — ages 7+
    Runge’s annual Stream Team clean-up on a section of Wears Creek. Wade in the water, pick up trash, and explore the life that calls our creek home. Wear old clothes and shoes that can get wet and muddy. MDC will provide gloves and trash bags.
    All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
    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.

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 must practice physical distancing and wear masks covering mouth and nose when distancing is not feasible. 

Runge Nature Center will be closed for Truman Day on Friday, May 7, though trails will remain open.

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