Now that people are venturing outdoors more to enjoy the nice weather, the sight of a snake can often cause alarm.

However, most do not understand how harmless, yet important these creatures are to the natural world.

A free nature program sponsored by Hannibal Parks & Recreation called “Snakes: Understand the Misunderstood” will be 1 p.m. April 11 at Sodalis Nature Preserve.

Gale Rublee, certified nature interpreter for Hannibal Parks & Recreation, said the program will help identify snakes in the Hannibal area. “We will find out their importance in the web of life and their benefits to humans.”

Snakes are vital to the functionality of our greater environment and food webs but are also among Missouri’s most misunderstood animals. Underneath a snake’s frightful reputation is an animal that performs valuable pest-control services for humans and, with the exception of a few venomous species, is relatively harmless.

Rublee has more than 25 years of experience as a nature educator. She is a founding member of the Mississippi Hills Master Naturalists chapter in Hannibal and is coordinator and teacher for the Bluff City Theater Youth Education in Theater Initiative.

Hannibal Parks & Recreation nature programs are free but space is limited and reservations are required by calling Hannibal Parks & Recreation at 221-0154 or emailing