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News By Department: Coastal Research & Extension Center

October 31, 2017 - Filed Under: Community

The Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum will host the Piney Woods Heritage Festival on Nov. 18.

The 15th annual event celebrates the region’s heritage with presentations, displays and demonstrations of historical skills and crafts, including blacksmithing, spinning, basket making, quilting and more.

October 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Environment

BILOXI, Miss. -- The 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup has been rescheduled for Nov. 18 in the aftermath of Hurricane Nate. 

“Authorities have closed all beaches for the cleaning that has to be done after the hurricane,” said Eric Sparks, event co-coordinator and assistant professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “It is illegal for anyone to be on the beaches until authorities reopen them, so we had to postpone our cleanup event.”

September 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Environment

Coastal Cleanup moved to Nov. 18 after Nate!

BILOXI, Miss. -- Volunteers can help tidy Mississippi’s beaches and other coastal areas during the 2017 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup on Oct. 21.

The 29th annual event begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. at more than 40 sites in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties. Participants will help remove plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and other trash.

Organized by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force, this event has helped remove millions of pounds of trash from the state’s beaches, waterways and barrier islands since 1988. Last year alone, volunteers removed 14 tons of litter from about 200 miles of coastal area.

A child’s hands poised above a collection of colorful insect specimens, pinned to Styrofoam blocks.
September 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Youth Projects, Insects

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Students and families can explore and celebrate the insect world during the Crosby Arboretum’s 11th annual Bugfest Sept. 22 and 23 in Picayune.

The arboretum, a public garden operated by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, sponsors Bugfest to allow the community to foster curiosity and an appreciation of nature and adventure.

Participants can collect and identify insects alongside Extension entomologist John Guyton and others from the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.

The Pinecote Pavillion stands in the background of the pond at the Crosby Arboretum.
September 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Landscape Design and Management, Environment

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum celebrates its formal, 20-year partnership with the university on Sept. 15. 

On that date in 1997 the facility was incorporated into the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. Managed by the MSU Extension Service, the arboretum is an award-winning, internationally recognized native plant conservatory dedicated to research, education and preservation of plants found in the Pearl River Drainage Basin. 

"The arboretum is regarded as the premier conservatory in the Southeast, and it is an important keystone of Piney Woods heritage,” said Pat Drackett, arboretum director. “It is a wonderful educational tool that helps teach people about our local ecosystems and preserves them for future generations. We are honored every day to help fulfill the vision shaped by the Crosby family and the Crosby Arboretum Foundation almost 40 years ago."

Terri Doyle grows sunflowers at Coastal Ridge Farm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and sells them to wholesale distributors and at farmers markets. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
August 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Farming, Agri-business, Women for Agriculture

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- What was once a Grade A dairy farm for more than 20 years now serves as the flower farm owned by Terri Doyle and her husband, Dave.

Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Coastal Ridge Farm offers fresh bouquets that can be found at Rouse's Markets in the New Orleans area and on the coast from May to November.

"The dairy industry had been getting tougher every year for small dairies," Terri Doyle explained. "When Hurricane Katrina hit and destroyed a lot of our property, Dave and I decided it was time to close the dairy."

Christine Coker, a horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University, began sowing the seeds for her career in elementary school as a 4-H member. Now, she helps put food on Mississippians’ tables with her research and Extension projects.
July 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Women for Agriculture, Food, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

BEAUMONT, Miss. -- For 16 years, Christine Coker has been doing what she loves: putting food on people's tables.

"In college, I really liked the study of plants, but I knew I wasn't going to be the world's greatest botanist," she said. "What I really wanted to do was feed people."

Jim DelPrince, Mississippi State University Extension Service floral specialist, will teach professional florists and entrepreneurs how to design for weddings during a workshop on Aug. 7 and 8. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jim DelPrince)
July 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Community, Economic Development

BILOXI, Miss. -- An upcoming two-day workshop will teach professional florists and others who want to begin or expand businesses about wedding floral design.

Jim DelPrince, floral specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will conduct the Wedding Floral Design Workshop Aug. 7 and 8 in Biloxi.

February 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Lawn and Garden

BILOXI, Miss. -- Floral enthusiasts and other interested individuals can learn techniques for designing floral arrangements for casual entertaining during a March 8 class.

In observation of International Women's Day, Jim DelPrince, floral specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will demonstrate fresh flower design using materials from the yard and garden.

February 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Farmers Markets, Food Safety

BILOXI, Miss. -- Farmers market vendors and cottage food industry owners are invited to expand their knowledge at a Feb. 24 workshop covering food safety basics and regulations for processing acidified foods in Mississippi.

January 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Extension Administration

VERONA, Miss. -- Jane Parish will take the reins at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center on Feb. 1.

Gary Jackson, director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, and George Hopper, director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, jointly announced her promotion from the Prairie Research Unit. Parish served as research and Extension professor at that unit since 2014.

January 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Extension Administration

BILOXI, Miss. -- James E. Henderson has been selected head of the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center.

When Henderson assumes his new role on Feb. 1, he will oversee the daily operations of the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in the southeastern region.

The bloom of the Titan arum is an inflorescence, a collection of many individual flowers. This inflorescence is composed of a petal-like structure called a spathe that has a ruffled edge. The spathe surrounds a fleshy central spike called a spadix. Male and female flowers are produced in rings at the base of the spadix. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 27, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Most of the time, I write about what I think are great landscape plants for gardeners in Mississippi to try in their landscapes. But this column is a bit different as I’m writing about a plant I don’t recommend for the home gardener.

So I ask your pardon while I turn to my alter ego as a plant nerd.

At the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville, a very unusual plant is going to bloom shortly. Called a titan arum, this plant originates a long way from Mississippi -- in Indonesia.

Hardy hibiscuses can withstand Mississippi winters and have massive flowers. Many bright and beautiful colors are available, such as this Summerific Cherry Cheesecake. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 20, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

Hibiscus has to be one of the best groups of plants you can have in your garden and landscape. Here’s several reasons why.

The deep purple of a Sweet Caroline Bewitched sweet potato vine grows alongside the Bright Ideas Rusty Red and Bright Ideas Lime varieties, with Diamond Frost Euphorbia providing a pop of tiny white flowers. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says the official start of summer is June 20 at 6:34 p.m., but after this past weekend, I’m convinced we’re already into summer.

Vitex flower spikes can reach 18 inches long. During the initial flush, the show of flowers may resemble a hazy blue or purplish cloud. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
June 6, 2016 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens

The first week of June is one of my favorite times in Mississippi landscapes and gardens. This is the time of the year when the vitex begins to bloom with the regularity of Old Faithful.