You are here

Extension Outdoors

a nest built by mice using insulation and a variety of other materials
September 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

Now is the time of year when many of us notice the pitter-patter of small feet in our attics or walls.

Complaints of mice in and around homes are common in the fall. The house mouse is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. House mice damage structures and contaminate food sources meant for humans, pets, livestock and other animals.

During the fall, both the house mouse, which spends most of its life in human dwellings, and the deer mouse, which spends warm seasons outside, are searching for food and warm shelter to nest and breed during the winter.

Four fourth-grade girls show off their personal identification cards that are passes to federal parks.
September 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Natural Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Those of us with a strong connection to the natural world know that attachment was born and strengthened through personal experiences we had outdoors as children, generally when family members took us outside to spend time, relax or have fun.

A new nationwide program began in 2015 with hopes of increasing access to federal public lands for fourth-grade students, along with the goal of establishing connections to the outdoors. Every Kid in a Park begins its third year on Sept. 1, 2017. Every fourth-grader has easy access to a free pass for admission to public land from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2018. 

The 2017 Gulf of Mexico dead zone, primarily off the coast of Louisiana, recently measured 8,776 square miles, the largest ever recorded in 32 years of monitoring. Reducing the size of the hypoxic zone is important to ensure continued productivity of the Gulf fishery. (Data source: N.N. Rabalais, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium; R.E. Turner, LSU. Funding: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, http://www.gulfhypoxi
August 25, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Marine Resources

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A new record has been set in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is not one to brag about because it threatens a multibillion-dollar fishing industry.

The most recent Gulf dead zone measured in the summer of 2017 was the largest ever recorded in 32 years of monitoring. It covered 8,776 square miles, which is closer to the size of New Jersey than the average zone size of 5,309 square miles. Reducing the size of the hypoxic zone is important if we want to ensure continued productivity of the Gulf fishery.

Healthy mourning dove populations allow opportunities for recreational hunting. Habitat establishments begin in the spring by planting small fields with a variety of grains such as sorghum, browntop millet and sunflowers. (Submitted photo)
August 18, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mourning doves are popular game birds and songbirds in North America. Common in urban and suburban environments, they often are seen perched on utility wires or feeding in fallow grain fields or on the ground under bird feeders.

Mourning doves have a plump body, small head, buffy feathers with scattered black wing spots, long tail feathers, and short, pink legs. It is smaller and less colorful than its pigeon cousins that are often seen around city parks, bridges and silos.

Indoor classroom lessons about vertebrates are part of this Master Naturalist course in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Adam Rohnke)
August 11, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Funding and manpower are cited as the most common limiting factors in conducting research, especially for wildlife and fisheries studies, which can cover huge areas, involve secretive animals and collect large quantities of information.

Newts are common inhabitants of small, woodland ponds, especially when no fish are present. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
August 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Small, forested ponds are abundant in Mississippi, and there is a good chance one is somewhere on your back 40.

Most landowners see these small systems as difficult to manage for fish because they are too small, shallow, or weedy, or maybe the trees are too close to the water's edge. Fishing may not be your thing anyway. In these cases, consider managing small, wooded ponds for wildlife.

Water hyacinths produce lovely blooms on Mississippi water surfaces during the summer, but this aggressive and invasive plant blocks light, stops photosynthesis for the plants growing below the surface and eliminates oxygen in the water. Freezing temperatures will kill plants, causing additional water quality problems. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/ J. Wesley Neal)
July 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although water hyacinth is beautiful and quite stunning when in bloom, it is not a desirable plant in ponds.

Water hyacinth floats gracefully on water surfaces. Its inflated, spongy stems feature attractive flower spikes adorned with up to 20 blue, yellow and light-purple flowers. It is common on many of Mississippi's navigable waterways, including the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Pearl River drainage. Native to tropical South America, water hyacinths feel right at home with Mississippi's warm summers and fertile waters.

Keep dogs on leashes while on nature trails to keep them from chasing or harassing the wildlife. Bring all trash and leftover food with you when your outdoor adventure concludes. (Photos by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, photographing or wildlife watching, all outdoor enthusiasts should practice "Leave No Trace."

Leave No Trace is a set of seven easy-to-follow principles meant to reduce manmade negative impacts on the environment.

Retreating into its shell will not protect this box turtle from most road dangers. If conditions are safe, render aid by moving or encouraging snakes and turtles off roads in the directions they are already headed. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
July 14, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the temperature rising daily, it is getting more common to spot turtles and snakes basking on the roads. Being aware of this change in reptile behavior can help drivers avoid hitting them.

With proper stocking ratios and active management, small ponds can provide fun fishing opportunities and food for the table. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
July 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Stocking ponds with largemouth bass and bluegills is the most common management strategy used in Mississippi, but this combination is not ideal for ponds smaller than one acre.

In these tiny ponds, other species -- either by themselves or in combination -- can usually provide higher quality fishing opportunities than the traditional bass and bluegill approach. One great choice for small ponds is catfish, which provide easy fishing and excellent table fare.

This is an example of trash found recently at a popular fishing area on the Pearl River. (Submitted photo/Abby Braman)
June 30, 2017 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Microplastics, very small plastic particles, in the natural environment have been in the news a lot lately, but there are many steps we can take to reduce this problem.

These tiny, sometimes microscopic, particles come from larger pieces of plastic and fibers from breathable clothing. They have been the focus of much recent media coverage and are the subject of ongoing research, including efforts at Mississippi State University.

Hybrid sunfish, sometimes called hybrid bream, are good options for small ponds because they grow quickly, especially when fed, and they are easy to catch. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Wes Neal)
June 23, 2017 - Filed Under: Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Many Mississippi landowners have tiny ponds that are not ideal for traditional largemouth bass/bluegill management. In ponds less than an acre in size, other species, either by themselves or in combination, can usually provide higher quality fishing opportunities than the traditional bass and bluegill approach.

A great choice for small ponds is to create a hybrid sunfish pond. Hybrid sunfish, sometimes called hybrid bream, are a good option for small ponds because they grow quickly, especially when fed, and they are easy to catch.

Armadillos dig up gardens in search of insects to eat but do not typically consume garden plants. (File photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 16, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether summer gardens are for beauty or food, this time of year is sure to bring wildlife into close contact with people's property.

Many gardens provide healthy and nutritious food for local critters such as armadillos, raccoons, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbits and a wide variety of insects. Gardens are usually easy for wildlife to access and offer an inviting buffet with such easy pickings concentrated in one area. All that time and labor you spent during the spring should not be tossed out due to these garden pests.

Young people enjoy canoe excursions on Bluff Lake in the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
June 2, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As a child, some of my favorite times were spent outdoors. Sadly, spending time outside is no longer the norm for many people.

Computerized hole selection provides furrow irrigation of rice with water from a tailwater recovery system in the Mississippi Delta. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
May 26, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- As temperatures rise and rainfall declines over the hot summer months, it is important to use our water resources efficiently.

Luckily, there are technologies and innovative strategies that farmers can employ to make every drop of water count.

During late spring and early summer, spectators and photographers should limit stress for nesting birds, such as this Canada goose near a pond in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, on May 7, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
May 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Late spring and early summer is the time when wild animals are raising their young, but it also the time when people gear up for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, playing baseball, riding all-terrain vehicles and visiting beaches.

We are fortunate to have ample green space in our state, but with this great resource comes the responsibility of respecting wildlife that use these spaces to raise young. The phrase "respect the nest" is an easy way to remember this responsibility.

This Wyoming deer suffers from chronic wasting disease, a highly contagious illness that is now present in 23 states. Although the disease is undocumented in Mississippi, it poses a real, potential threat to the state’s deer herd. (Photo Credit: Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the CWD Alliance)
May 12, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Diseases are a big concern for deer biologists and managers.

Since the reestablishment of white-tailed deer across the Southeast, hemorrhagic disease has had a negative impact on their populations. Hemorrhagic disease in deer can be caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses, or bluetongue viruses, and is spread by black gnats.

Grey rat snakes, such as this one, are commonly seen here in Mississippi. They are not venomous and generally would prefer to be left alone. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Evan O’Donnell)
May 5, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

RAYMOND, Miss. -- No other creatures provoke as many conflicting feelings as snakes do. We are attracted and repelled, and we are intrigued by them and ready to kill them, all at the same time. These feelings date back to antiquity.

Young campers paddle across a lake during a Mississippi State University conservation camp in 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
April 28, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The conclusion of the school year does not mean learning must end, too.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the MSU College of Forest Resources are offering three summer youth camps in June. These Conservation Camps are designed to engage and excite young people in natural science and nature-based outdoor recreation. Hands-on learning, outdoor activity, and new friends and experiences are central to all three camps.

A stray fawn may look vulnerable and alone, but the mother is usually nearby keeping a watchful eye on her offspring. (Stock photo)
April 21, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring is a glorious time of year. Flowers and leaves are not the only signs of new life. Plenty of food and warmer weather make this the perfect time for wildlife to mate and raise their offspring.

Youth is a time for learning and developing, and baby animals are no different from baby humans in this regard. Important life skills need to be mastered if youngsters are going to be able to survive in a harsh world. Even innate or natural skills often must be mastered through practice.

Pages

Extension Outdoors Archive