Maple Sugaring

Tree tapping for maple sugaring is just one of many programs this month at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. Go online to www.mdc.mo.gov/events to register for programs

Provided by MDC staff, courtesy of Mo. Dept. of Conservation

The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center has packed the January schedule full of events. Visitors can learn about wild edibles, wild game cooking, fishing and winter tree identification, all in the month of January.

“Finding more time for nature is a great new year’s resolution,” said Jamie Koehler, assistant manager at the center. “We’ve created lots of opportunity for people to get started on that goal this month.”

Wild Edibles: Nature’s First Aid Kit is Saturday, Jan. 6, from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants will learn how many native plants have purposes, like healing qualities. The hands-on class will demonstrate how plants can help relieve bug bites, sunburn, poison ivy and other common outdoor related hurts.

“We’ll make some native plant based balms and infusions for participants to take home,” Koehler said.

Wild Game Cooking: Friday, Jan. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., is the perfect course for hunters, or beginning hunters, who want to learn how to cook their harvest. This program will offer an opportunity to sample wild game dishes prepared by nature center staff and volunteers. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited.

Fishing Skills: Programs will be held for both youth and adults Jan. 20. Both programs are from 10 a.m. to noon. The youth portion is for ages seven to 15 with the adult program for ages 18 and up. These clinics will cover types of bait and tackle for trout fishing, regulations and locations for trout fishing. The clinic will end with a trout fishing trip to Rotary Lake in Jackson. Parents or guardians must attend with youth participants. Early registration is recommended as space is limited.

A Winter Tree ID program: Set for Saturday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. No registration is required for this program that will expand tree identification skills beyond leaf identification. Participants will learn other features to identify tree species in the winter season. Naturalists suggest dressing according to the temperature, as this program involves a hike along Ridgetop Trail behind the Cape Nature Center.

One of the nature center’s most popular programs, Maple Sugaring, will wrap up the month’s programs on Jan. 27. Two time options are available, 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:30 p.m. Early registration for these programs begin Jan. 2. Participants will learn how to identify sugar maple trees and select the right one to tap. Then, they’ll have an opportunity to tap the trees. This program only covers the tree tapping portion. A follow up maple sugaring program will occur in February to complete the process.

To register for programs in advance, go online to www.mdc.mo.gov/events. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located North Cape Girardeau County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99). Find more information about the Cape Nature Center at www.mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter.

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