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

October programs at the nature center will include:

  • Tree Stand Safety
    Wednesday Oct. 7, 5–7 p.m. — ages 12+
    Tree stand accidents are one of the major causes of hunting-related injuries. Learn steps you can take to ensure your safety while hunting from and setting up a tree stand. Several examples of different tree stands will be utilized during the program. MDC will provide all materials.
    Registration required at:
    * Early registration, now open!
  • Bullets and Cartridges for Deer Hunting
    Saturday, Oct. 16, 1–2 p.m. — ages 16+
    Prepare for firearms deer hunting season by getting acquainted with the correct bullets and cartridges to ensure a safe hunting experience. This program will cover the basics of ammunition and help you understand the curious terms that go along with finding the correct bullets and cartridges for your firearm.
    Registration required at:
  • Beginning Shotgun Shooting
    Monday, Oct. 18, 4–6 p.m. — ages 13+
    Learn how to safely handle and shoot a shotgun at moving targets. This program will cover shotgun safety and the fundamentals of shotgun shooting, as well as maintenance and safe storage. Meet at Rocky Fork Lakes Shooting Range, just north of Columbia. MDC will provide all equipment, ammunition, and safety gear. Bring a water bottle and dress for the weather.
    Registration required at:
  • Midweek Trekkers: Arrow Rock State Park
    Wednesday, Oct. 20, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    Grab your hiking stick and join a guided hike at Arrow Rock State Park in Saline County. Meet at the Runge Nature Center or the trailhead. Hike leaders will contact participants 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: 3 miles. Difficulty: Moderate
    Registration required at:
  • Conservation Kids: Falling Leaves
    Saturday, Oct. 23, 1–3 p.m. — ages 7–12
    Leaves are everywhere this time of year! Find out what kinds of leaves are falling, create leaf prints, reveal the leaves’ true colors, and more.
    Registration required at:
  • Beginning Archery
    Thursday, Oct. 28, 2–4 p.m. — ages 7+
    Archery is a fun, lifetime sport that all can enjoy. Learn the basics of archery and how to shoot safely. Then practice your newly learned skills under the supervision of Runge staff. MDC provides all equipment.
    Registration required at:
  • Day with Ducks and Decoys
    Saturday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. — all ages
    Take a closer look at the ducks and geese that call Missouri home through activities and displays. Visit with members of the Missouri Duck Decoy Collectors as they bring a variety of decoys from the last century and discuss the materials, artistry, creativity, skill, and ingenuity that went into making duck decoys.
    No registration required.
    Learn more 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. 

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