Mississippi River featured in Cape G. Nature Center programs, exhibits

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – New exhibits and programs at the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center focus on the Mississippi River and its inhabitants. “Aquatic Relatives of the Dinosaur” is scheduled for Dec. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. and “Rediscover the Mighty Mississippi” will follow immediately after from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Aquatic Relatives of the Dinosaur” is a program focused on the pallid sturgeon, or Scaphirhynchus albus, led by MDC Resource Science Field Station Supervisor Dave Herzog. The pallid sturgeon was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1990. In 1992, Missouri’s Blind Pony Hatchery hatched the first ever hatchery reared pallid sturgeons. Since then, state and federal hatcheries have produced hatchery reared pallid sturgeon to stock rivers where pallid sturgeon once thrived. As a result, pallid sturgeon numbers are on the rise.

“Research and management continues to improve our understanding of the endangered pallid sturgeon,” said Herzog. “Like the American bald eagle, we hope the pallid sturgeon will someday be removed from the endangered species list.”

Herzog said the pallid sturgeon program will detail its incredible journey from a trajectory of extinction to increasing abundance in Missouri’s Large Rivers.

“Rediscover the Mighty Mississippi” is a program immediately following that will showcase the majestic Mississippi River through maps and letters that chronicle its history, origin and connection to the people of Southeast Missouri.

“We hope folks will walk away with an appreciation of this local gem as they’re reminded of what a treasure we have in the Mississippi,” said Nature Center Manager Sara Turner.

Both programs will take place in the main auditorium at the Nature Center. They are open to all ages with no registration required. New exhibits compliment these programs in the exhibit area, featuring live pallid sturgeon in the aquarium and a new watershed exhibit to explore.

The Nature Center is located on the north side of Cape County Park. For more information on these and other programs at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, go online to www.MissouriConservation.org.