Volunteers with the Mississippi Master Naturalist and Master Gardener programs will take part in an educational workshop to learn about the coastal environment and restoration science on May 31 before restoring dune and marsh grass on a quarter acre of crucial habitat at Deer Island, Miss., on June 1. Volunteers will be assisted by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Coastal Preserves Program, Mississippi State University, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Dune Doctors. Active reestablishment of dune and marsh plants is a practical step in ecosystems restoration.
In the “Community Grass Gardens” restoration project, a total of 2,650 dune plants will be installed covering over 10,600 square feet or just under a quarter of an acre at two locations on East Deer Island. Volunteers will install the dune plants (sea oats and panic grass) and marsh plants (smooth cordgrass and black needlerush). Various ground covers, such as sea purslane and beach morning glory, as well as 150 coastal marsh plants will also be installed within close vicinity of the two other sites.
This project is funded through the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Environmental Education Network and will provide opportunities for local communities to restore natural habitat while increasing their knowledge of local ecosystems. GOMA was formed in 2004 by the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico by increasing regional collaboration.
What: Deer Island “Community Grass Gardens” restoration project
Where: Deer Island, Mississippi
When: Wednesday, June 1. Boat for Deer Island leaves Biloxi Small Craft Harbor dock at 8:30 a.m. and returns every hour until project is completed.
Why: Provide opportunities for Gulf of Mexico communities to actively participate in hands-on restoration activities that improve the economic and ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico.
Who: 25 Master Naturalist and Master Gardener volunteers from Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Coastal Preserves Program, Mississippi State University, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Dune Doctors.
Contact: Chris Boyd, MSU extension assistant professor, 228-546-1025 (office), 334-740-8013 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org