Saturday events to celebrate 20th anniversary of nature center

In this News Tribune file photo, 6-year-old Lauren Peterson gives her artwork a unique look by painting with a bergamot seed head under the watchful eye of Runge Nature Center assistant manager Robin Grumm.

In this News Tribune file photo, 6-year-old Lauren Peterson gives her artwork a unique look by painting with a bergamot seed head under the watchful eye of Runge Nature Center assistant manager Robin Grumm. Photo by News Tribune.

Cake and ice cream will be joined by nature walks, canopy climbs and storytelling Saturday as the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City celebrates its 20th anniversary.

A special highlight to the day is hosting Vertical Voyage, which will take visitors up to the tree canopy with ropes and harnesses.

With reservations, visitors may have a more extensive canopy climb from 8-11 p.m. During the day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. they will offer a festival tree climb.

Scattered throughout the site during the day will be nearly two dozen special guests who will share their personal stories about being connected to the outdoors and their particular passion, which include hunting, turkey calls, quilting, photography, woodcarving, insect collecting, nature journaling, archery, bird banding, fishing and water sports.

On a microhike, visitors will use a magnifying lens to explore a fallen centennial oak tree.

For those wanting to get hands-on, insect sweeping, wetland exploration and fishing will be further down the trail.

Plant information and hiking instruction also will be available along the trails.

The outdoor pavilion stage will host different events every half hour including live raptors at 10 a.m., nature storytelling at noon and 1:30 p.m., and music.

Volunteers from the first class in 1993 will be invited to visit about the center’s changes. And others have been invited to discuss its future.

Also in the evening from 8-11 p.m. will be night hikes along the Towering Oak Trail, nature-at-night activities, self-guided exploration stations, and more storytelling.

At 10 p.m., a nature movie will be shown with free popcorn and soda.

The nature center has devoted the majority of its special event budget to this day, said Manager Kathy Cavender.

“We do want the community to come and have fun and celebrate with us,” Cavender said. “We value our community.”

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