Nature Centers

Missouri's nature and interpretive centers help you and your family connect with nature in a variety of ways.

  • Take a walk on an interpretive trail or nature trail.
  • Learn about wildlife through live exhibits.
  • Attend workshops or classes on a multitude of topics, including outdoor skills.

Nature Center Events

Date: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - 8:00am to Friday, November 1, 2019 - 8:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Powder Valley Photo Contest
Powder Valley wants to see what our visitors love about discovering nature! This photo contest is for amateur photographers (all ages). It is free and open to all visitors of Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, Emmenegger Nature Park & Possum Woods, and Claire Gempp Davidson Memorial Wildlife Area. Deadline for all entries will be November 1, 2019. Winners will be announced in a Missouri Department of Conservation press release and displayed at Powder Valley in February 2020. For more details and an entry form, please contact Shelly Colatskie at shelly.colatskie@mdc.mo.gov , 314-301-1506 ex 4222 or stop by and pick one up at the front desk.

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 8:00am to Saturday, June 29, 2019 - 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Come by the nature center to view the lobby exhibit featuring artist Jim Peters. Jim primarily paints in the challenging medium of transparent watercolor. His unique method of painting with "other liquids" is an original technique. These paintings are rendered mixing the paint with other water-soluble liquids such as milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade as well as beer, wine, and whiskey.

Another unique and original aspect of Jim's work is that he uses water from the source of the subject he is painting. For instance, if Jim is painting a snow scene, he will use melted snow in place of tap water; for creek scenes, creek water, for lakes, lake water, etc.

Jim and his wife, Betty, reside in rural Franklin County just outside of Washington, MO.

Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 8:00am to Friday, July 12, 2019 - 8:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

No reservations required
Trail Tales features a children’s book along the trail. Read, move, and play as you visit and engage in suggested activities at each stop. Both children and adults will love to play in nature this way!

Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 8:00am to Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 8:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Runge Nature Center has free fishing rods, reels, and tackle to loan. Stop by the front desk anytime during business hours, sign out the equipment, and have fun fishing!

Call 573-526-5544 or email Runge@mdc.mo.gov for details.

Date: Saturday, June 1, 2019 - 3:00pm to Saturday, June 29, 2019 - 3:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Walk-in (all ages)
Discover what’s for dinner at Burr Oak Woods as the captive amphibians, fish and turtles enjoy their feast every Wednesday and Saturday.

Register by June 19

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 9:30am to 12:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Youth Beginning Air Rifle
June 20 • Thursday • 9:30 a.m. –noon
Ages 9–15
Reservations begin May 15
Youth new to shooting are invited to participate in an instructor-led session covering shooting fundamentals, safety, and proper technique. All shooting equipment will be provided. Participants will also enjoy a naturalist-led hike and explore one of Powder Valley’s creeks.

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (ages 18+).
What is eating the middle out of my green beans? It could be the small hairstreak caterpillar. If you’re interested in learning other butterfly facts or quilting tips, join us and receive the hairstreak block pattern for June.

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (ages 18+).
What is eating the middle out of my green beans? It could be the small hairstreak caterpillar. If you’re interested in learning other butterfly facts or quilting tips, join us and receive the hairstreak block pattern for June.

Register by June 20

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (at least one child 0-2 and one ages 3-6).
Yip! Bark! Hooowl! Coyotes make many sounds to communicate with each other. Trot in to learn more about an important predator and do some coyote calling of our own!

Register by June 20

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Learn about water’s incredible journey and who lives in Missouri’s waters as we dive into summer. Ages 7-12. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by June 21

Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Kayaking can be a great way to get outdoors and see the Ozarks from a new perspective. Join instructors from the Ozark Mountain Paddlers for an introductory lesson at Lake Springfield. Equipment is provided. Registered participants will meet at the Lake Springfield Park boathouse. Ages 18-adult. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 9:30am to 12:30pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Ornithology: Winged Wonders

All Ages

Take a closer look at a bird’s wings, feet, and beak. Learn how these body parts and other adaptations are essential for a bird to survive in the wild! Join us for LIVE bird banding starting at 7:30 a.m.

Families, Scout, and camp groups are welcome. All activities will be both indoors and outdoors. For groups of more than 20, please call for your reservations.

Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 9:30am to 10:15am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Summer is officially here. We’ll start inside to learn about summer before we take the little ones on a summer sensory stroll. Ages 0-2. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by June 21

Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

This program is for women only. Girls 14-17 must be accompanied by an adult female. Kayaking can be a great way to get outdoors and see the Ozarks from a new perspective. Join instructors from the Ozark Mountain Paddlers for an introductory lesson at Lake Springfield. Equipment is provided. Registered participants will meet at the Lake Springfield Park boathouse. 14-adult. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 3:00pm to 3:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Walk-in (all ages)
Discover what’s for dinner at Burr Oak Woods as the captive snakes are fed every other week (June 21).

Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 5:30pm to Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

**DETAILED SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES LISTED BELOW**

Attention nature-lovers, photographers, and amateur and professional biologists! Mark your calendars for the first ever Runge Nature Center BioBlitz on June 21-22, 2019. This 24-hour event is designed to help us explore the plants, animals, and other forms of life that call Runge home. How many different species of living things can we find? All amateur (including kids) and professional naturalists are invited to attend.

There will be many expert-led, interactive excursions including bat mist-netting, bird banding, moth black-lighting, small mammal trapping, and other species surveys. Lots of activities for kids and families, such as cane pole fishing, a firefly watch, pond exploration, pollinator discovery, and a creek crawl. There will also be a photography and observation competition with prizes using iNaturalist.

All attendees will be entered in a prize raffle and can earn prizes by participating. Free hotdogs, chips, and drinks will be available on Saturday, donated by the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES (* denotes the most kid-friendly activities)

Friday, June 21

• 5:30pm – Trail Camera and Trap Set-up (mammals, turtles, and fish)
• 5:30 – 7:00pm Spider Survey
• 6 – 8:30pm Wetland Life Survey*
• 6:30 – 8:30pm Bird Survey
• 8:30 – 10pm Amphibian Survey
• 8:30 – 10pm Firefly Watch*
• 8:30 – 9:30pm & 10 – 11pm Spider Eye-shine Surveys
• 9 – 11:30pm Bat Trapping
• 9 – 11:30pm Moth and Nocturnal Insect Survey

Saturday, June 22

• 6 – 9am Bird Survey
• 6:30 – 8:30am Bird Banding
• 8 – 10am Small Mammal Trapping Survey
• 8 – 10am Reptile Survey
• 8 – 12am Cane Pole Fishing Fun*
• 8 – 10am Wetland Life Survey*
• 10am – 12pm Fungi Survey
• 10am – 12pm Butterfly Survey
• 10am -12pm Prairie Plant Survey
• 10am -12pm Formal Garden Pollinator Survey*
• 1 – 3pm Dragonfly Survey
• 1 – 3pm Prairie Insect Survey
• 1 – 3pm Forest Understory Plant Survey
• 1 – 3pm Forest Fun Insect Discovery*
• 3 – 5pm Forest Insect Survey
• 3 – 5pm Trail Camera Results
• 3 – 5pm Tree Survey
• 3 – 5pm Creek Critter Survey*

Register by June 21

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 8:00am

Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center

Celebrate the wonders of nature . Join a naturalist roam through a variety of Ozark settings while you do some birding and learn about the habits and habitats of the birds you find. You never know what awaits at the next bend in the trail. Participants will meet at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center at 8:00 a.m and will shuttle to Peck Ranch Conservation Area. For further information, call 573-325-1381.

Register by June 21

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 8:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins June 1 (ages 12+)
Come with us as we hike General Watkins Conservation Area. Please pack a lunch, bring water, and dress for the weather. Youth ages 12 and older welcome with an adult.
Notes:
If riding with us, please select that option.
If driving on own, please select that option. Parking may be limited.
Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.
Bring water, a snack, and any comfort items
Will be cancelled if raining.

Register by June 21

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 8:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins June 1 (ages 12+)
Come with us as we hike General Watkins Conservation Area. Please pack a lunch, bring water, and dress for the weather. Youth ages 12 and older welcome with an adult.
Notes:
If riding with us, please select that option.
If driving on own, please select that option. Parking may be limited.
Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.
Bring water, a snack, and any comfort items
Will be cancelled if raining.

Register by June 21

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 8:15am to 5:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Volunteer Naturalist Pat Stritzel leads this six-mile hike at Bennett Spring State Park. Meet at the nature center and carpool. Bring a sack lunch and water and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Hike is rated moderate to difficult. Ages 18-adult. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by June 22

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 6-16)
Registration begins June 4, 2019.
Did you ever have fun watching fireflies on a summer evening? It’s even more fun when you know about their amazing lives! (You would never guess what the larvae eat!) Join us to learn more, while enjoying displays, activities and crafts.

Register by June 21

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins June 1 (ages 12+)
Ever wondered how to use natural items to use as dyes? Deb Cambron from Herbs ‘n Handspun will provide an indigo dye demonstration followed by the creation and use of a dye vat. Participants should bring a 100% cotton T-shirt or any other 100% natural fiber item/fabric to dye.

Register by June 21

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins June 1 (ages 18+)
Deb Cambron from Herbs ‘n Handspun will provide an in-depth presentation on the history of indigo, its use, chemical composition, and dye process. The presentation will be followed with the development of the dye vat and then actually dying items. Participants should bring a 100% cotton T-shirt or any other 100% natural fiber item/fabric to dye.

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (all ages)
Join us as we celebrate National Pollinator Week by participating in project ‘Bee Spotter’. We will learn about the importance of native bees as pollinators and then head outside to collect data that will be used to learn about bee populations in our area. Smart phone or camera recommended.

Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 8:30am to 1:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Do your trees have disease or insect problems? Bring infected twigs (at least 12 inches long), branches, or leaves for Urban Foresters to identify and suggest a solution for your tree problems. All ages. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

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