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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Natural Centerpieces

Missouri Department of Conservation.

November 22 - November 28

Discover Nature this week by including nature in your holiday festivities.

Ever notice how even the most pricy centerpiece for a holiday table is usually made to represent nature? You can do the same thing – minus the price – and build a family tradition at the same time.

Take your children out on an afternoon to gather sticks, leaves, pinecones and other items from your yard. As you’re collecting items, talk with them about what they’re choosing and why. Is it the color of the item or a texture they like? Can they identify the tree they’re clipping branches from? Spending time talking with your children about nature, even in your own yard, will plant memories that will grow a love of the natural world.

Once they’ve made their selections, bring the items together and clean off any dirt. If you want a simple, yet elegant centerpiece, arrange the items inside a large, clear glass bowl. Place it in the middle of your table and scatter a few leaves, pinecones or berries on either side of the bowl for a more dramatic effect.

If evergreens are available, clip a few small branches and weave them together into a wreath. Place it flat in the center of your table and pile it high with pine cones in the center.

If table linens are brightly colored, don’t worry about adding ribbon to an otherwise natural centerpiece. However, you may want to use some ribbon to help form the shape of the wreath if you have difficulty.  If a bright color is needed, berries are a perfect addition to a natural centerpiece, too.

When relatives stop in, be sure and boast about the beautiful and natural centerpieces your children made. You could be starting a tradition that will keep your family discovering nature for generations to come.

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