Conservation Education

Nature Activity

Runge Nature Center

  • Program: “Hoppy Holidays” Open House
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Runge Conservation Nature Center on Highway 179 in Jefferson City
  • For more information: (573) 526-5544. No registration required.

Runge Conservation Nature Center hopped into the leap year with the “Year of the Frog.” This international effort was designed to raise awareness about the decline of amphibians worldwide (see related story top right). In keeping with this year’s froggy theme, our annual “Holiday Happenings” event will be titled “Hoppy Holidays.” Our two-day celebration will include nature crafts, games, puppet shows, walks and other activities focused on Missouri’s frogs and their relatives. We’ve also planned plenty of traditional holiday activities, such as bird walks, scavenger hunts, fireside stories, music and more. Bubba, the tree frog, may also make a special holiday appearance, so bring your holiday visitors and plan to spend an afternoon with us. Free refreshments will be served on both days.

Become a Master Naturalist

Join your local chapter and sign up for training.

Turn your passion for nature into mastery that can make a difference. Become a master naturalist. Co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and University of Missouri Extension, the Master Naturalist™ program helps you become a well-informed community leader dedicated to improving natural resources.

“I took the Master Naturalist training just so that I could learn more about our world for me,” reports one member. “But now I realize that this kind of knowledge needs to be shared.”

To become a Master Naturalist, enroll in a 40-hour course on Missouri’s natural resource ecology and management. Once your training is complete, join your local chapter. To support your chapter, plan to donate 40 hours of natural resource-based volunteer service and achieve eight hours of continued education each year. Volunteer service falls into three categories: stewardship, education and interpretation, and citizen science.

Spring training starts in February and March in Columbia, Cole Camp, Camdenton, Gray’s Summit and Rolla. Cost for the training varies by chapter.

Farewell to Year of the Frog

International effort raised awareness worldwide.

Although our beloved spring peepers sang as usual this year, frogs and other amphibians are disappearing worldwide. The causes? Habitat loss, pollution and disease. To counter this alarming trend, Amphibian Ark dubbed 2008 the international “Year of the Frog.” Throughout the year, celebrities such as Kermit the Frog spoke on behalf of amphibians, and hundreds of international partners reached out to local communities. Here in Missouri, Department nature centers offered dozens of frog programs. To learn more about ongoing efforts to keep endangered amphibians afloat, visit Amphibian Ark online.