Visit MDC Cape Nature Center’s 19th annual Native Plant Seminar in March

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Planning on “going native” with landscaping but not sure where to start? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is inviting you to attend free events focused on native species March 12 – 16 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center!

“Our annual native plant seminar and plant sale are highly anticipated,” said Cape Nature Center Manager Laci Prucinsky. “We always look forward to sharing ideas and connecting with fellow native plant enthusiasts.”

The Cape Nature Center is hosting a variety of virtual programs focused on native planting. The plant sale on March 16 will feature vendors with plant-themed items, and presenters skilled in nature art and photography will also be on-site, including Kathy Schweer, Darlene Spell, Russell Callahan, and Helen Towner.  

Seminar programs this month include:

There are few families of plants which are more sought after by native bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies than the aromatic mint family. This program will teach you to easily identify this family and many of its members. We will discuss various mints to plant in your gardens and fields to attract and benefit local wildlife – and your own dinner table!

Hummingbirds are one of the most colorful birds in Missouri. As they flit from flower to flower, we are reminded of the beauty that exists in nature. Find out how you can maximize plantings in your garden beds to draw in this wonderful pollinator!

  • Native Plants: Seasonal Guide to Foraging | 10 to 11 a.m. on March 14 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration not required.

Did you know you can forage all year round? This program will provide the forager with seasonal information to prepare for the prime seasonal opportunities!

When temperatures start to warm in spring, many woodland wildflowers race to sprout and bloom before the dark forest canopy shades them out. These fleeting “ephemeral” wildflowers put on a short, but spectacular display across southeast Missouri. During this indoor program, we will brush up on our identification skills before this spring bloom so that you can enjoy your early season hikes with a new appreciation for this diversity.

The nature center will remain open during this program.

March 16 programs include:

  • Native Plants: Starting Native Plants from Seed | 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on March 16 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration not required.

Join Bill Eddleman, retired wildlife biologist and ornithologist, as he teaches about starting native plants from seed. Gardeners who wish to use native plants in landscaping or on their property are often unaware they cannot be started the same way most garden plants can. Many native plant seeds have inhibitors that prevent germination, and these must be disabled by mimicking natural conditions, often by moist-cold stratification.

This presentation will cover collecting native plant seeds, seed storage considerations, sources for learning about specific germination requirements for individual species, and how to start seeds for a home landscape.

  • Native Plants: Tree Planting 101 | 11 a.m. to noon on March 16 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration not required.

Join MDC Forester Jennifer Behnken as she teaches about planting trees! It seems so easy; you dig a hole and put the tree in the ground. However, there is more finesse than that when it comes to planting. Learn a few elements about what you need, planning your tree planting event, how to plant, watering, mulching, follow up tree care, and understanding tree physiology to make informed decisions for what your new tree(s) need to grow and thrive.

  • Native Plants: Prescription Fire: Medicine for a Healthy Habitat | 1 to 2 p.m. on March 16 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration not required.

Small flames dance across the forest floor as a fire passes through a woodland in Missouri. While many of us regard this as something quite detrimental, fires – when managed appropriately – are one of the most effective tools for maintaining healthy habitats. Join Paul Breitenstein, Vice President of the Prescribed Burn Association and long-time structural and wildland firefighter, as he teaches how prescribed fire can be used as medicine to help create healthier forests, prairies, and ecosystems. Methods of how to perform prescribed fire effectively and appropriately will be discussed.

  • Cape Nature Center will host its annual native plant sale from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on March 16 at the front lawn.

Grab your shovels and dust off your garden gloves – the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center’s annual native plant sale is finally here! This is your opportunity to purchase beautiful native flowers, shrubs, and grasses. Not only will there be native plants, but other vendors will be selling plant-themed items for you to peruse and purchase.

Additional program following the seminar:

  • Habitats: Pampering Your Pond | 6 to 8:30 p.m. on March 20 at Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center | Registration not required.

Ponds can beautify your landscape, supply hours of family fishing fun, and provide habitat for countless Missouri species, from ducks to amphibians. Join MDC Fisheries Biologist Salvador Mondragon for an in-depth plan for managing your pond. Learn about stocking, aquatic plants, and dealing with invasive species so you can pamper your pond and maximize your investment.

Program Registration

The programs and events above relate to MDC’s Native Plant Seminar but may also be registered for as stand-alone programs. Please ensure your MDC account includes an accurate email address so that you can receive a link to virtual programs. Registration closes two hours before the program begins, and the program link is sent at least 30 minutes before the program is scheduled.

View details for all MDC March events online at And be on the lookout for programs to register for in April!

Advance registration is required for most programs. All family members that plan to attend in-person and virtual events must be registered. First, create a profile online at Once a profile is created and event registration is complete, additional details about programs will be sent via email. If you’re having difficulty registering online, you may contact the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center at (573) 290-5218.

Stay Connected

Questions about events can be emailed to MDC Cape Nature Center Manager Laci Prucinsky at

The Cape Nature Center sends program registration reminders and updates to those who sign up by texting “MDC Nature” to 468311. An online subscription is also available to “sign up for updates” at A variety of updates are available at this option, but Cape Girardeau specific updates are available under facility updates and news for southeast region.

Cape Girardeau Nature Center is located at 2289 County Park Dr. in Cape Girardeau, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. White Oak Trace Trails are open daily, from sunrise – 10 p.m.