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Crosby Arboretum gets funding for quaking bog
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune recently received a Five Star grant to help create habitat for an endangered plant community and educate the public about Gulf Coast ecosystems.
The $21,938 grant will help create a 900 square-foot Quaking Bog Educational Exhibit on land formerly used for agricultural and forestry production. The Crosby Arboretum, a unit of the MSU Extension Service, is the Southeast’s premiere native plant conservatory.
“This is wonderful news. We are very excited about this project,” said arboretum director Pat Drackett. “These funds will allow us to expand this exhibit for the benefit of the visiting public by enlightening them about the disappearing coastal habitats represented on the grounds.”
A 100-foot floating bridge will be built over the exhibit to allow guests to experience the quaking bog without damaging the delicate ecosystem. The bog display will be located in the Savanna Exhibit area, a representation of the original Gulf Coast landscape, which consists of grasslands with scattered trees, wildflowers and native shrubs.
Quaking bogs are formed over hundreds or thousands of years when plant debris collects in lakes or ponds or when sphagnum moss collects over low-lying land, preventing precipitation from evaporating.
The layer of peat moss that forms as these plant materials decay moves underfoot, giving the bog its name. These bogs are ideal habitats for pitcher plants, sphagnum moss and other plants that need little oxygen and few nutrients to grow.
The new Crosby Arboretum exhibit also will store rainwater and support threatened birds, fish, mammals and reptiles native to these wetland bog habitats.
The grant award was announced by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and awarded through the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program and Southern Company, the parent company of Mississippi Power.
Project partners will match the Five Star funds with in-kind donations totaling $24,226. Partners include the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Master Naturalists, Mississippi Native Plant Society and Mississippi Master Gardeners.
The arboretum displays the three basic habitats of the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem found in Mississippi and Louisiana. The 104-acre conservatory includes an additional 700 acres designated for research. For more information about the arboretum, visit http://www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu/.