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

Register by November 1

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 8:00am to Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 11:30pm

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, 2018. Winners will be announced in the Conservation Connections Newsletter and displayed at Powder Valley in February 2019. 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: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 8:00am to Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 11:30pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Since 1996, Margy Terpstra and her husband, Dan have worked together to remove
invasive plants, restore their half-acre property in Kirkwood with beautiful Missouri
natives and add water features, all for the benefit of wildlife. They named their yard/
conservation garden “Shady Oaks Sanctuary”. Margy has documented 149 species of
birds there, including 35 warbler species.
With nicknames like “Fire-throat” and “Swamp Candle”, Margy anticipates the arrival
of these tiny neotropical songbirds in spring and photographs them in Shady Oaks as
they feed, drink, bathe and rest. This exhibit called “Warblers!” includes Margy’s
images of 29 different species, several of which are rare and of high conservation
concern.
Visit the Terpstras’ website and blog: http://hummerhavenunltd.com

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 3:00pm to Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 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. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Date: Friday, May 11, 2018 - 3:00pm to Friday, May 25, 2018 - 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 enjoy their feast every other Friday.

Register by May 22

Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Ages 0-2 years. Worms don't push their way through dirt, they eat their way! Recycling waste and making the soil rich and healthy, these dirt dwellers are the unsung heroes of the animal world! Join us to learn more about these fascinating subterranean squirmers. 573.526.5544

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

No registration required. Ages 7-adult. Late spring and early summer are busy times for birds. Volunteer Naturalist Myra Scroggs will help find common nesting birds, as well as some that are not so easy to spot, during this indoor and outdoor program.

Register by May 24

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins May 1 (ages 18+)
Native bees are responsible for pollinating most of our food crops and flowers. They, like honey bees, have declining populations. Join us in making a beehouse that is both functional and beautiful that you can place on your property.

Register by May 23

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

For ages 16+. Handmade nature-themed cards are always a welcome gift and they deserve a beautiful folder in which to present them. We will be making a generic folder which can be modified to fit your taste and occasion. If time permits, we can make some cards to get you started. If you have a paper trimmer and score board please bring them. If not you can share ours.

Register by May 24

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. For this program, you need once child in the 0-2 age range AND one child in the 3-6 age range. Worms don't push their way through dirt, they eat their way! Recycling waste and making the soil rich and healthy, these dirt dwellers are the unsung heroes of the animal world! Join us to learn more about these fascinating subterranean squirmers. 573.526.5544

Register by May 24

Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Online registration begins May 1. Ages 7-12. Special guest Sarah Driver will join us for a look at Missouri’s smallest and most energetic bird-the ruby-throated hummingbird. Learn how you can attract this winged jewel to your backyard during this humdinger of a program. Please, no younger siblings and only one adult per group of kids.

Register by May 25

Date: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

This month we will be discussing Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - detailing various contemplations on nature and life.

Register by May 25

Date: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Registration required. (ages 3-18 years) Come cast a line with us and learn all about our different species of sunfish in Missouri. We will have a short presentation and then go fishing at Runge to try to catch some sunfish! Wear appropriate attire. All equipment is provided, and it will be catch and release only. 573.526.5544

Register by May 25

Date: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Ages 0-2 years. Worms don't push their way through dirt, they eat their way! Recycling waste and making the soil rich and healthy, these dirt dwellers are the unsung heroes of the animal world! Join us to learn more about these fascinating subterranean squirmers. 573.526.5544

Register by May 25

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 7+; ages 7–15 must be accompanied by a participating adult)
Trotlines, jug lines, bows and gigs have been used to catch fish in Missouri throughout the generations. But what are they and how do you use them? Join us as we explore some of these different methods of catching fish. We will learn how to set and run checks on lines that have been set in the education pond. I wonder what we will catch. Program participants: arrive at the Educational Pond 10 minutes prior to the program start time to get checked in.

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

All ages. No registration required.
Traveling through every forest and river in Missouri are many different turtles. Come learn about these neat reptiles that carry their house on their back. There will be lobby activities, crafts, and turtle races! 573.526.5544

Register by May 26

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. All ages. Registration required.
Learn to make your own worm bin. Feed your garbage to the worms, then put the resulting compost in your garden. Finally, use the worms for fish bait. It’s a win-win! 573.526.5544

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

"The Extra Mile: Exploring the Limits of Endurance" with Jennifer Pharr Davis. Davis was the fastest person ever to complete the Appalachian Trail. During her talk, she will recount her 46-day, 47-mile-per-day "fastest-known time" on the Appalachian Trail, describing the internal and external struggles involved in maximizing her miles and her potential. Her book, "The Pursuit of Endurance," will be available for purchase after the program. No registration required for the indoor portion of the program.
Hike the 2.1 mile Long Trail at the nature center with Jennifer Pharr Davis from 9:30-10:30 am. REGISTRATION REQUIRED--call 616-0554 to register. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring a water bottle for this moderate hike.

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Walk-in (ages 2+) Join us for story hour as we lead you on fantastic nature adventures! We will meet birds, mammals and all sorts of magnificent creatures! We will cross rivers, discover mysteries within the forest and fly across the prairies. Our imaginations are the only limits. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2018 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Jennifer is a professional speaker who has shared her trail adventures across the United States and Europe. She is founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels. Jennifer has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents, and has written six books, including her newest book The Pursuit of Endurance.
Jennifer’s program will start with a hike at 5:00 PM. She will begin her presentation at 6:00 PM in the Auditorium that will involve storytelling, slides shows, readings from her book, and Q&A. Following the program, Jennifer will be signing copies of The Pursuit of Endurance.

Register by May 30

Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Ages 3-6 years. Worms don't push their way through dirt, they eat their way! Recycling waste and making the soil rich and healthy, these dirt dwellers are the unsung heroes of the animal world! Join us to learn more about these fascinating subterranean squirmers. 573.526.5544

Register by May 31

Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins May 1 (ages 10–15)
Fish are very interesting animals. From the way they move to how they sense the world around them. We will investigate the biology of Missouri fishes and try to catch some at the pond.

Register by June 1

Date: Friday, June 1, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins May 1 (ages 6–10)
Fish are very interesting animals. From the way they move to how they sense the world around them. We will study some of the common fish of Missouri and try to catch some at the pond.

Register by June 1

Date: Friday, June 1, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins May 1 (ages 6–10)
Fish are very interesting animals. From the way they move to how they sense the world around them. We will study some of the common fish of Missouri and try to catch some at the pond.

Register by June 1

Date: Friday, June 1, 2018 - 6:00pm to Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 12:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins April 3 (ages 14+)
Must attend both days.
Friday evening at the nature center property owner, Paul Breitenstein, will discuss the process he has undertaken over the years to turn his landscape from old pastures to a diverse habitat teeming with wildlife. Saturday, everyone will go on a hike at Paul’s to see how these best practices have improved the property while identifying a wide variety of plants, along the way.
Directions will be emailed to those who register.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 8:00am to 4:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

No registration required. All ages. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act with a hike. Learn about our National Historic and Scenic trails, how to take care of your local trails, and test your knowledge about trails and the Trails Act on a family trivia hike.

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