Bird is the word at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Springfield Conservation Nature Center in January because that’s when the facility will host a variety of bird-related events. Some nature center programs require registration in advance so it’s important for nature center guests to familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website at www.mdc.mo.gov/southwestevents or call 417-888-4237. The nature center building, trails, and area will be closed Jan. 1.
One of the main highlights of the nature center’s January schedule is Eagle Days on Jan 18 and Jan. 19. No registration is required. The event will include programs at the nature center with a bald eagle from the Dickerson Park Zoo and chances to see bald eagles in the wild from spotting scopes at the Springfield/Greene County Park Board’s Boat House. The event is for all ages, call 417-888-4237 for details.
Prior to Eagle Days, on Jan. 10, participants can learn about owls in the nature center program “Discover Nature: Owl Prowl and Evening Stroll. This event, which will be from 6-9 p.m. will include indoor programs at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with owls provided by the Dickerson Park Zoo and after-dark guided hikes on the nature center trails where people will have a chance to hear owls calling in the wild. People can register for this program at: https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/171361.
On Jan. 25, the nature center’s Conservation TEENS group will learn how to identify migrating waterfowl. This program, which is from 9 a.m.-noon and is for ages 12-17, will include a brief indoor program followed by a trip to a nearby water area where waterfowl can be found. Binoculars, snacks and transportation will be provided. People can register at: https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/171369.
Other January programs at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center include:
Discover Nature: Animal Bingo, Jan. 2, from 1-2 p.m., ages 5-adult, no registration required
Little Acorns: Teeny Tufted Titmice, Jan. 3, from 10-10:45 a.m. or 11:15 a.m.-noon, ages 3-6 (no organized groups please), no registration required
Discover Nature: Story Time with Ms. Ladybug, Jan. 8, from 11-11:30 a.m., ages 2-6 (no organized groups please), no registration required
Hiking: Swan Creek, Jan, 11, from 8:15 a.m.-5 p.m.; Group will hike Mark Twain National Forest Trails that are along Swan Creek near Garrison in Christian County. The hike is 5-7 miles and rated moderate to difficult. This program is for ages 18-adult. Register at https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/171362.
Little Acorns: Wonderful Weasels, Jan. 22 and Jan. 25, from 10-10:45 a.m. or 11:15 a.m.-noon on Jan. 22 and from 11:15 a.m.-noon, ages 3-6 on Jan. 25, no registration required
Outdoor Skills: Fly Tying Demonstrations, Jan. 25, from 1-4 p.m.; participants will learn the basics of fly tying, all ages, no registration required.
Springfield Conservation Nature Center guests can conveniently manage program registration online at www.mdc.mo.gov/SouthwestEvents. The first step to registering for a program is creating a profile. Once that is accomplished, it is easier to sign up for future programs.