JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City reopened to visitors Feb. 1 with public health precautions in place.
To protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the nature center, total building occupancy is limited to 50 people at any time. During busy times, some visitors may need to wait outside until other guests exit the building. Visitors will need to use enter- and exit-only doors and should bring their own drinking water, as drinking fountains will be out of service. Guests must wear a mask covering mouth and nose and practice physical distancing while inside the nature center.
The nature center will continue to offer free public programs in outdoor and virtual settings this month, in order to continue to serve the community while adhering to public health guidelines. To ensure public safety during the coronavirus pandemic, all participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose at all in-person events.
The nature center has released its program schedule for the month of February at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZPf. Most programs require registration in advance, and space is limited. All events are free.
February programs at the nature center will include:
Backyard Bird Watching — Virtual Program
Tuesday, 10-11 a.m. — All ages. Backyards are great places to watch birds! Learn to identify birds visiting feeders, get tips on how to attract them to your yard, and get ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 12-15.
Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175710.
Little Acorns: Stories by the Fire — Outdoor Program
Thursday or Feb. 23, 10-11 a.m. — Ages 3-6. Bundle up and gather around the fire for some nature stories! No more than one adult with each registered participant. Dress for the weather. All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
Registration required for Feb. 11 at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175394.
Registration required for Feb. 23 at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175395.
Nature’s Needlers: Heelsplitter Mussel — Virtual Program
Feb. 18, 6-7 p.m. — Ages 16 and older. Take a virtual float trip down a Missouri stream to discover plants and animals that depend on clean water to survive and thrive. Each month, a different applique block based on this year’s theme, River Trail Discoveries, will be revealed. February’s applique block and presentation will feature the unique heelsplitter mussel. Participants must attend this virtual program to receive the applique block/pattern via email. Registrants will receive a link to attend prior to the program.
Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175830.
Fly Fishing Basics — Virtual Program
Feb. 25, 6-7 p.m. — All ages. The world of fly fishing is just a cast away! Join this virtual program and find out the basics on gear, casting, flies, presentation and more. Registrants will receive an email with a link to attend prior to the program.
Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175402.
The Hikers: Clifty Creek Conservation Area — Outdoor Program
Feb. 27, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. — Ages 18 and older. Join a volunteer-led group hike this month at Cifty Creek Conservation Area near Vienna, in Maries County. The moderate-level trail is 4-5 miles. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, pack food and water. Registrants will receive an email with additional details prior to the hike.
All participants must wear masks covering mouth and nose.
Registration required at: mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175670.
Visitors can manage program registration at mdc.mo.gov/centralevents. The first step in registering for a program is creating a profile, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once registrants create a profile and register for events, they will receive details about those specific programs.
Runge Nature Center, located at 330 Commerce Drive in Jefferson City, is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday. Trails at the nature center are open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. every day. Visitors must practice physical distancing while using trails, and wear masks covering mouth and nose when distancing is not feasible.
Runge Nature Center will be closed Feb. 12 for Lincoln Day; trails will remain open.
For more information about events at Runge Conservation Nature Center, visit nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/runge-nature-center, or call the nature center at 573-526-5544.