Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Fall Festival Entertainment for All

Monday, October 22, 2018
7-year-old Grace Siddigy bird watches at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center Fall Festival.
Photo by Patrick Buck

Explorers of all ages came to Cape Girardeau Missouri Nature Center on Saturday, Oct. 20, for fishing, hiking, live animals and refreshments at the Fall Festival.

The free event was put together, “to encourage people to come to the Nature Center, and show them that it’s not just for kids,” said Nature Center manager Sara Turner.

While 7-year-old Grace Siddigy watched for birds through binoculars, there was plenty to do for others. The Trivout family of Sikeston made their own mice masks. Local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts got to explore nature and obtained a nature belt loop to add to their accomplishments. Cub Scouts Pack 59 Den Leader Robert Cooper explained that events hosted by the Conservation Center are enjoyable, and being outdoors and learning about “things you can eat or things you shouldn’t touch in nature” was his favorite part.

Adding to her love for the outdoors, 7-year-old Molly Huffman explored the Fall Festival with her grandma and saw things she has never seen before. This Marble Hill, Missouri, native is used to playing outside with her dog, collecting flowers, wild berries and leaves, but saw her first two-headed snake at the nature center.

“I’ve never seen a snake with two heads,” Huffman said.

First-grader Joseph Munger has been to the Conservation Center several times, but it was his first time attending the Fall Festival.

“I really love nature because I get to see all the animals run around and play,” Huffman said.

The Fall Festival gave him the opportunity to go fishing and see animals he does not get to see on a daily basis. In addition, his experience at the event will allow him to receive a badge for his Cub Scout meritt collection. He was not the only one receiving a badge – 13-year-old Nathan Steel also attended and earned a badge for Boy Scouts.

The four-hour evening event included nature-inspired activities such as live animal presentations, fishing, crafts, games, and hiking. Due to high winds, planned outdoor events like archery and a bonfire were cancelled, making the event mostly indoors.

However, that did not stop the fun for the young ones.Colton Lofton, 8, repeated the outdoor obstacle course multiple times to practice “escaping danger.”

The Fall Festival has been put on by the Department of Conservation for four years by event coordinator Jordi Raos who encourages families to attend the organization’s events because they provide a variety of activities.

“We do everything from taking people on hikes, all ages, to doing programs for zero to 2-year-olds on basically learning how to use their hands, stuff like that,” Raos said. “We go all the way up to working with teenagers, teaching them archery and it’s all free.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation has a newsletter and online website that provides a schedule, time and location for events all over the state.

“We just encourage people to come to the Nature Center to see what we are all about,” Turner said. “We have programs for people of all backgrounds, ages and interests.”