MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces September 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 September. 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 Sept. 1 for all programs.

September programs at the nature center will include:

  • Fishing Skills: Pond to Plate Saturday
    Sept. 11, 8 a.m.–noon — all ages
    September in Missouri offers great opportunities for catching fish. Join nature center staff on the water and learn to catch, dress, cook, and eat some tasty fish. All participants 16-years of age and older must have a valid Missouri fishing permit.
    Registration required at:
  • Conservation Teens: Beginner Shotgun Shooting
    Monday, Sept. 20, 5–7 p.m. — ages 13–18
    Learn how to safely handle and shoot a shotgun at moving targets. Program will cover shotgun safety and the fundamentals of shotgun shooting. Meet at Rocky Fork Lakes Shooting Range, just north of Columbia. All equipment and safety gear will be provided. Bring a water bottle and dress for the weather.
    Registration required at:
  • The Hikers: Prairie Home Conservation Area
    Saturday, Sept. 25, 8–5 p.m. — ages 18+
    Join Runge naturalists on a guided hike at Prairie Home Conservation Area in Cooper County. Distance: 5-miles; difficulty: moderate. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and pack a lunch/snack.
    Registration required at:
  • Design with Nature in Mind: Quill a Cardinal
    Saturday, Sept. 25, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m. — ages 18+
    The Northern Cardinal is one of Missouri’s most recognizable and beautiful of our backyard birds. Learn about this feathered friend, then use the craft of quilling to create a piece of hanging art. This project will take more time that previous sessions, so plan to bring a lunch/snack and water bottle. Runge will provide all quilling supplies. 
    Registration required at: 
  • Migrating Insects and Monarch Tagging
    Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2–4 p.m. — all ages
    Where do monarchs migrate? How do they get there? Help us answer these questions as we study and tag monarchs on their southward migration. Program will also investigate many other impressive insect migrators passing through Missouri.
    Registration required  
  • Beginner Squirrel Hunting — Virtual Program
    Thursday, Sept. 30, 4–5 p.m. — ages 10+
    Squirrel hunting is a great way to enjoy autumn in the woods. You don’t need a lot of equipment to hunt squirrels, and they are abundant and delicious. Join naturalists for a discussion about hunting safety, regulations, firearms, strategies, and recipes. Participants will receive a program link via email the day before and the day of the program.
    Registration required at: 
  • Discover Nature Women: Beginner Archery
    Thursday, Sept. 30, 5–7 p.m. — ages 16+
    You don’t have to be a hunter to be a skilled archer. Learn the basics of the sport of archery and try your hand at shooting a bow in this women-only program. No experience necessary and all equipment is provided. Dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes.
    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. 

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