MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces November 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 this fall.

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 November. 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 

November programs at the nature center will include:

  • Lobby Activities: White-tailed Deer
    Saturday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. — all ages
    Take a break from the hunt to learn more about the life of a white-tailed deer and their history in Missouri. Staff and volunteers will offer several ongoing activities to help visitors better understand one of Missouri’s largest mammals.
    No registration required. More information at:
  • Relaxing Drawing: Bottle Gentian — Virtual or In-Person Offerings
    Saturday, Nov. 20, 10–11 a.m. (virtual); 1–2:30 p.m. (in-person) — ages 14+
    This season’s relaxing drawing artwork features the autumn wildflower, bottle gentian. Relax, draw, and discover this unique, native blue wildflower and its special relationship with bumble bees. Participants will receive a list of supplies needed during the week of the presentations via email. Presenter will also email a link to join the virtual program the day before and the day of the presentation.
    Registration required for 10 a.m., virtual event at:
    Registration required for 1 p.m., in-person event at:  
  • Introduction to Crossbows
    Saturday, Nov. 20, 1–3 p.m. — ages 12+
    Crossbows are easy to use and a fun form of archery. Learn the basics of how to safely operate and shoot a crossbow. Meet at the Runge outdoor pavilion before heading to the outdoor range. Dress for the weather and wear close-toed shoes.
    Registration required at: 
  • Fireside Nature Stories — Virtual Event
    Monday, Nov. 22, 10:30–11 a.m. — all ages
    Join a naturalist, virtually, for a nature story or two around our Runge fireplace. Grab your favorite blanket and snuggle up to watch and listen to stories geared for the little ones, but enjoyed by all ages. The presenter will email a link to join the event the morning of the program.
    Registration required at: 
  • Intro to Orienteering
    Wednesday, Nov. 24, 1–3 p.m. — ages 10+
    Don’t get lost in the woods! Join a naturalist to learn more about orienteering and practice your skills on Runge’s orienteering course. Participants will learn the basics of reading maps and using a compass while trekking through the woods.
    Registration required at: 
  • The Hikers: Lake of the Ozarks State Park
    Saturday, Nov. 27, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    Put on your hiking shoes and join a guided hike at Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Camden County to explore the Honey Run Trail. Hike leaders will contact participant before the hike to give directions, if needed. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack. Distance: 6 miles. Difficulty: Moderate.
    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 Thursday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day. The nature center will also be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, in observance of Thanksgiving. 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.