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MSU Crosby Arboretum wins distinguished award
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum recently received the Garden Excellence Award from the American Public Gardens Association.
The prestigious award is presented to one public garden each year based on its commitment to supporting and demonstrating best horticultural practices. Past recipients of the award include the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Longwood Gardens, Chicago Botanic Garden and Missouri Botanical Garden.
“This is a huge honor for the Crosby Arboretum,” said Crosby Arboretum Director Pat Drackett. “It is a testimony to the significance of our master plan developed by the first arboretum director, Ed Blake Jr. Since this year is the 30th anniversary of the arboretum’s public opening in 1986, it is a fitting time to receive this recognition.”
Operated by the MSU Extension Service, the arboretum consists of more than 700 acres dedicated to research, education and preservation of the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem.
Cultural, scientific and recreational programs are offered throughout the year at the garden’s 104-acre interpretive site, which includes exhibits of three basic habitats found in the local ecosystem: savanna, woodland and aquatic.
“The Crosby Arboretum educates our visitors about the native plants, animals and habitats of Mississippi’s Piney Woods,” said MSU Extension Director Gary Jackson. “It has become a well-known outdoor classroom in the region.”
Unlike other public gardens that focus on exotic plant collections, the Crosby Arboretum showcases native plant species of Mississippi in their natural communities, Drackett said.
“We are also unique because our exhibits were designed to be managed with minimal maintenance. Other public gardens and home gardeners can apply these same principles to become more efficient stewards in managing their own lands,” she said.
The American Public Gardens Association is a professional organization that supports best practices and offers educational and networking opportunities. Association members include zoos, museums, arboreta, botanic gardens, display gardens, research facilities, colleges and universities, and other facilities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and 24 countries.
The award will be presented to arboretum representatives during the association’s annual conference June 6-10 in Miami.
For more information about the arboretum, visit http://crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu.