HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Lida McDowell taught science and math for 30 years at the high school and university levels, and she keeps finding ways to educate while enjoying an interest she had no time to pursue until retirement.
The raised-bed vegetable gardens she and church friend Karen Walker maintain year-round serve as a classroom for a young audience at Thames Elementary School in Hattiesburg.
“What we’re trying to do is get the kids to enjoy nature, be outside and appreciate where their food comes from,” McDowell said.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mariah Morgan remembers inquisitive 8-year-olds, just learning how to program beginner robots for 4-H projects. The rest of the world now sees one of them as a team of champion programmers.
Wait For It, the Rankin County 4-H robotics club, just earned top honors at the FIRST Tech Challenge at Minute Maid Park in Houston. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi 4-H offers a unique way to celebrate the unofficial Star Wars Day, May 4, by encouraging support of the state 4-H Robotics Program.
May 4 is recognized for its connection to the famous movie line, "May the force be with you."
"May the Fourth has become a day to celebrate science, technology, engineering and math," said Mariah Morgan, an assistant Extension professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach.
A Mississippi State University researcher is helping turn Mississippi roadsides into eye-catching pollinator habitats and tourist attractions.
Dr. Brett Rushing, an assistant Extension and research professor at the MSU Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton, supports Wildflower Trails of Mississippi in its effort to fill available and suitable property across the state with colorful, native wildflowers and grasses. Coordinated by Keep Mississippi Beautiful, this project began in 2015.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring has begun, and while that means warmer weather and blooming flowers, it may mean more pests infiltrating your home.
David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, explained the importance of integrated pest management and the steps that make up the IPM process. He said IPM focuses on common-sense activities around the house, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly and affordable practices over regular application of insecticide.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- As spring blooms outdoors, many people with allergies take refuge inside their homes, but indoor air pollutants can trigger allergic reactions, as well.
"Dust, pollen, cockroaches, pet dander, dust mites, and mold and mildew found inside homes can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms for many people," said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "Make routine cleaning a priority to help control these pollutants."
HOUSTON, Miss. -- Chickasaw County residents are feeling the ripple effect of renovating a dilapidated agri-center three years ago.
"Horse events can have a tremendous economic impact on a community," said Angie Abrams, Chickasaw County 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "The agri-center renovation didn't just benefit a handful of people with horses. It has helped local businesses, youth development and other groups needing a large covered space for specific activities."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dairy producers who want to improve their cattle management skills can spend a half day seeing how Mississippi State University researchers handle their herd.
The 2017 MSU Dairy Open House will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at the MSU Bearden Dairy Research Center near Starkville. The event is hosted by the MSU Extension Service and the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. There is no cost to attend the open house, and lunch will be provided.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Growers interested in commercial pecan production are invited to a spring field day May 11 in Raymond.
The event will begin at the Mississippi State University Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center at 1320 Seven Springs Road in Raymond. It is hosted by the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association, MSU Extension Service, and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
NEWTON, Miss. -- Forage growers looking to improve production and management of their fields are invited to a workshop in May.
The Coastal Plain Forage Production Field Day will be held May 4 at the Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station at 51 Coastal Plain Road in Newton. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry and Experiment Station are hosting the free event.
GREENWOOD, Miss. -- Farmers can learn a variety of useful information about tomatoes and cucumbers during a May 19 Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production field day.
Hosted at Levee Run Farm in Greenwood, the event will cover composting and trellising these crops, as well as ways to control insects and disease. Attendees also will learn about the family farm’s vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, high tunnels and pastured poultry.
MACON, Miss. -- Mississippi has a long history of catfish production, but recent advances in management and production are changing the way some ponds look and operate.
Catfish ponds have traditionally been rectangular, shallow and large, usually about 10 acres of water. Today, some existing ponds are split in half to make two equal-sized, intensively managed ponds. Another new approach is to use levees to split ponds into cells with fish raised in 20 percent of the area and the other 80 percent used as a lagoon that helps oxygenate water.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- New landowners can learn about managing timberland for profit during a five-part short course in May.
Forestland as an Investment will be offered May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at the Mississippi State University Extension Service office in Forrest County. It starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. each night. The Extension office is located at 952 Sullivan Drive in Hattiesburg.
VERONA, Miss. -- "Practice makes perfect" is the adage organizers of the 4-H Winter Classic believe sums up the 10-year-old horse show that helps 4-H horse program participants prepare for the formal summer show season.
The Winter Classic is open to all Mississippi 4-H'ers. It provides young people an opportunity to participate in two shows per month from January to March before the formal Mississippi 4-H Horse Shows begin in June. The Winter Classic and the Mississippi 4-H Horse Shows are part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H youth development program.
WOODVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers market and cottage industry sales are a significant part of the Mississippi food scene, and Mississippi State University Extension Service training is helping entrepreneurs take advantage of these business opportunities.
The MSU Extension Service and Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion offers training on acidified canned foods and general food safety at locations across the state. An upcoming workshop will be held April 25 in Woodville, Mississippi, at the J.R. Hamilton Extension Building.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Natasha Haynes has never lived or worked on a farm, but her professional career with the Mississippi State University Extension Service circles around agriculture just the same.
Haynes is an Extension agent in Hinds County and host of "The Food Factor," the weekly video feature produced by the MSU Extension Service. She grew up in Jackson and earned a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences from Alcorn State University.
CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- Almost 200 years after Mississippi became a state, residents may find it difficult to imagine a time when women could not be Extension agricultural agents. That time was right up until the late 1990s when Ann Fulcher Ruscoe became the "county agent" for Coahoma County.
"Most entry level jobs for the Extension Service involved 4-H responsibilities. That's how I started in 1980 in Bolivar County," Ruscoe said. "Eventually, 4-H agents would usually become home economists if they were women or county agents if they were men."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All Mississippians who raise any species of poultry are being urged to follow strict biosecurity practices and review new requirements regarding sales and exhibitions.
Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that while avian influenza is not a threat to human health or food safety, an outbreak would endanger backyard flocks and the state’s nearly $3 billion commercial poultry industry.