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The Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City is preparing for an August filled with events.

Runge Nature Center, operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation, will host free events through August to "connect you with nature."

Registration on the MDC website is required as space is limited for most events. Registration begins Sunday for all August events and is at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZPf.

According to an MDC news release, all visitors are expected to observe local guidelines regarding social distancing and masking. They encourage participants to wear face coverings.

The month will start with "Reptiles: Tails, Scales and Shells" from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday. The virtual program, available for all ages, will "dispel fear and make connections to help participants learn the unique and important roles reptiles play in Missouri."

"Insects at Night" scheduled 9-11 p.m. Aug. 6 for people of all ages, will allow visitors to discover the overlooked world of insects that begins at dusk.

"Discover Nature: Tree ID" is an informational hike at the center, where a naturalist will dispel the mystery behind trees. Tools will be provided to identify trees, such as those common in Missouri. The event will be 9-11 a.m. Aug. 14 and is open to those 12 and older.

Next, go from the trees to an underground world with a spelunking expedition at the Graham Cave State Park in Montgomery County near Danville, an hour from Jefferson City. This moderately-difficult expedition will take participants on a 4-mile hike guided trip. Hikers will be expected to wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, and pack a lunch and water bottle. The event will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 18 and is open for people 18 and older.

"Discover Nature: Migratory Insects" is a virtual event focusing on migrating insects, such as the monarch butterfly. This event is 4-5 p.m. Aug. 26 and is open to people 12 and older.

The last event, "Conservation Kids: Animal Olympic Games," is designed just for children. The event will demonstrate "the strongest, fastest and smartest animal athletes in Missouri, and how humans measure up to these critter Olympians." The event will be 9-11 a.m. Aug. 28 and is open to children ages 7-12.

For more information, contact the Runge Nature Center at 573-526-5544 or visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/runge-conservation-nature-center.

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