Runge Nature Center hosting summer youth camp

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Looking for something for your child to do this summer? Want to help them discover nature and enjoy the outdoors? The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Conservation Nature Center is hosting a five-day youth camp June 4 – 8. The camp will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday thru Friday and 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday. The program is free and open to campers 9 thru 12-years-old.

Camp F.I.R.E., or Fun In Resource Exploration, is in its seventh year of operation. This year, participants will focus on Missouri’s prairie community. Campers will be immersed in the prairie ecosystem and enjoy an off-site field trip to a prairie area. They will be able to imagine what life was like as Native Americans and early pioneers by visiting an authentic teepee and a pioneer campsite. Campers will experience old time games, tomahawk throwing, nature weaving and other historic prairie skills. Plus, they will be instructed in archery and have time to hone their skills throughout the week.

Campers will also have various ways to discover nature through hands-on activities such as investigating and collecting wildlife on a prairie study area, meeting live prairie animals, trying out prairie management tools, and getting immersed in prairie grasses and forbs.

“Camp F.I.R.E. is a great way for kids to connect to nature, learn and have fun at the same time,” said MDC Runge Nature Center Manager Kathy Cavender. “One of the hallmarks of this camp is the opportunity for campers to teach parents what they learned on the final day.”

Camp F.I.R.E. is limited to 30 youth. Due to the popularity of the camp, a lottery drawing will be held to determine participants. Successful campers will be notified by May 14. To register, pick-up a form at Runge Nature Center or call 573-526-5544 to have a permission form mailed. Registration forms will be accepted through May 9.

Runge Nature Center is located on Hwy 179 in Jefferson City approximately .5 mile north of Hwy 50. Building hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The building is closed on Sunday and Monday. The outdoor trails are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

For more information on this or other programs, visit and search “Runge.”