The World Around You
Learn more about the world around you
As the grass and trees green up and begin to display their beautiful flowers, we can appreciate how nature restarts its cycle. It is often hard to go outside and enjoy this beautiful change of season with our busy schedules and ever advancing technology. To make matters worse, the world of smart phones and i pads makes it even more challenging to get outside to enjoy the wonders of nature.
By just going outside your backdoor, you can learn more about the many coastal habitats that are present in south Mississippi. Your property is most likely located near a pine, maritime, or bottomland hardwood forest, a wetland pine savannah, or a coastal marsh. Therefore, by just sitting on your porch you can see birds, insects, native plants, wetlands, and other natural features in the landscape. So make sure to explore your neighborhood, local wilderness preserve, national forest, or your local city park by taking a casual walk to begin or restart identifying the many unique organisms that live within these habitats. For instance, the wet pine savanna habitat is very diverse containing up to 40 plant species per square meter.
The Mississippi Master Naturalist class offered through Mississippi State University and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium allows participants from all walks of life to learn more about the world around them. The participants are educated about wildlife, fisheries, forestry, habitats, water quality, native plants, soils and ecology. Expert speakers will educate the class about the fundamentals of these various topics. The class will also take many field trips to the various coastal habitats and nature centers throughout coastal Mississippi.
Participants will also learn about the many natural resource management practices that are being used to protect and restore vital habitats needed to sustain our fish and wildlife populations for future generations. Many of the speakers are employed by state, federal and non-governmental natural resource agencies. Therefore, the participants will learn from knowledgeable professionals about the work that they do to protect our essential coastal resources from urban development. In addition, participants will be provided many volunteer service opportunities to assist these agencies with natural resource education and management projects.
The 2012 Mississippi Master Naturalist Program will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays, from April 26 to June 14, at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. New students may join during the first two weeks of class. To register, contact Chris Boyd, an assistant extension professor who works with Mississippi State University and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, at (228) 546-1025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Boyd, Ph.D., is a professor at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center and an extension specialist for the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.