Ring in spring with nature programs at MDC’s Cape Nature Center

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center has a packed schedule of programs to help people reconnect with nature this spring. Native flowers, barn owl boxes, geocaching, and archery basics are just the first of many programs in April.

“Spring is the perfect time to reconnect with nature after being cooped up in the winter months,” said Jamie Koehler, assistant manager at the center. “Our programs are designed to help you discover nature and this schedule for April has some truly exciting activities included.”

It all starts Thursday, April 5, with an evening Nature Art program from 6 to 8 p.m. The group will focus on the unique beauty of native flowers and then recreate their favorites using paper.

“Our native flower creations may not fool the bees, but they’ll last longer in a vase,” Koehler said.

Nature Art is for ages 14 and up and registration is requested.

All ages are welcome to register and attend a Barn Owl Boxes program the same evening, Thursday, April 5, also from 6 to 8 p.m. This program is led by Bridget Jackson, a MDC education consultant.

“Barn owls are beautiful and they’re beneficial to our natural communities,” Jackson said. “They’re a species of conservation concern in Missouri, so it’s important that we help them by providing more nesting opportunities for them.”

Those who attend will make nesting boxes to hang on their property for barn owls.

MDC Naturalist Jordanya Raos will lead a geocaching program for ages eight and up, Saturday, April 7, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Geocaching is an outdoor “treasure” hunt using GPS technology.

“We’ll go over basic GPS use before we hit the trails to see what kind of treasures we find,” Raos said.

Anyone under 18 will need to attend with an adult mentor and preregistration is required.

“Geocaching is fun because we get to see technology collide with nature,” Raos said. “Sometimes people think those things aren’t compatible but nature can become even more enjoyable when we use technology to enhance our outdoor adventures.”

Raos is also leading the Archery Basics program Thursday, April 12, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The program will include archery safety, operation and shooting fundamentals. MDC provides loaner equipment for this program.

“We’ll talk about bow anatomy and shooting technique before we move outside to target practice,” Raos said.

Registration for these events begin April 3 at mdc.mo.gov/events. Events at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center are free, thanks to the 1/8th of 1% Missouri State Conservation Sales Tax. For more information about the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center go to mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter.