Audubon Center offering summer camps

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center is offering fun, nature-based summer camp programming for a variety of age groups.

Elementary, middle school, and mini-camps run from 9 a.m. until noon at the center. Our high school junior naturalist program runs 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day, and is field-trip based. Dates for the camps are listed below.

 

 

  • Mini-Camp for children entering kindergarten or first grade
    • Session 1: July 18-20
    • Session 2: July 25-27
  • Elementary Camp for children entering second through fifth grades
    • Session 1: June 5-June 9
    • Session 2: June 12-June 16
  • Middle School Camp for students entering sixth through eighth grades
    • June 19-23
  • High School Junior Naturalist Program students entering ninth grade through twelfth grade
    • June 26-30

 

Elementary and middle school camps costs $100/week per child for non-members and $90/week/child for members. Each week of camp includes a boat trip with McCoy’s River and Boat Tours.

Our high school junior naturalist program is $135/child for members and $150 for non-members.

The shorter mini-camps run Tuesday-Thursday and cost $50/camp/child non-members and $45/camp/child for members. We do not take the youngest campers on the Boat Tour. 

Visit the Audubon Center’s website for more details and to download the registration forms.

 

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Spring Nesting Season Has Begun

bluebird-nest-5-eggs Spring Nesting Season Has Begun Eastern Bluebirds commonly lay 4-6 turquoise eggs

 

According to the North American Bluebird Society, a non-profit that oversees bluebird conservation and education, the Eastern Bluebird nesting season begins on March 1st. Try telling that to our local Jackson County bluebirds, however, that started constructing their nests in early February.

By March 1st, many nest boxes not only were full of the pine needle and grass nests that are typical of Eastern Bluebirds, but the first clutch of 4-6 turquoise blue eggs were already laid.  

Bluebird eggs, like many songbirds, hatch after about two weeks of incubation. Bluebird parents both take an active role in raising the young ones, feeding them large quantities of insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. The young birds rapidly grow from featherless and helpless to noisy feathered “teenagers” begging for food. Within three weeks of hatching, these babies will be fully fledged and ready to fend for themselves. 

Once the fledglings leave the nest- some willingly and some encouraged by the parent birds- the adult male helps to feed them while the adult female starts the process of laying a new clutch of eggs. In our warm coastal climate, songbirds like bluebirds can raise four or more clutches in a season. 

Encouraging nesting birds in your yard is as simple as putting up a nest box appropriate to the species you hope to see and protecting it from predators. Bluebird boxes may also attract Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, House and Carolina Wrens, and more. Patterns to make a nest box can be found online for a variety of species. It is important to protect your nest boxes from predators- everything from raccoons to snakes to neighborhood cats like to eat bird eggs and young. 

It’s also critically important that we don’t disturb, touch, or collect nesting birds. Songbirds, as well as all of their nests, eggs, and feathers; are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

If you observe a baby bird that has fallen from its nest, continue to monitor it without touching it. In many cases, it is learning to fly and simply misjudged the landing. The parents are typically watching it and feeding it regularly. If the fledgling is in danger from predators, traffic, or something else, you may scoop it up and put it on a nearby branch out of the way, but where the parents can still observe the baby and feed it. 

Help our songbird populations have a successful nesting season by putting up nest boxes, keeping them clean and free of predators, and observing the babies from a safe distance. 

 

 

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Volunteers walk to fight heart disease

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Volunteers gathered from all across Jackson County at Pascagoula beach Saturday morning to join the fight against heart disease.

The 2017 Jackson County MS Heart Walk took place at the Pascagoula Beach Park on March 18. With heart disease causing roughly one in four deaths in the U.S., money raised from the heart walk is able to go to life-saving research.

One participant with the Chevron team has heart disease affect him personally in his lifetime.

“In 2007, I lost my mother to heart disease,” said Chris Cochran, a maintenance team leader. “My father has heart disease, and I was diagnosed with heart disease and had four heart stents.”

However, Cochran hasn’t let the odds discourage him.

“The heart walk is important to me to show even if you have heart disease, you can be very active,” he said. 

Saturday’s Heart Walk was able to raise over $98,000 for the American Heart Association.

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Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

ribbon-cutting Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

The Mississippi Maritime Museum’s phase one is now open after a ribbon cutting held Thursday, March 16.

Housed in the band hall of the old Pascagoula High School property, phase one involves an activity center to make maritime history and interactive experience for the whole family.

The goal of the museum is to tell the story of the state’s 300-year maritime history, preserving the past and educating future generations.

ribbon-cutting Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

“This is not a Pascagoula museum,” said Mayor Jim Blevins “This isn’t a Jackson County museum. This isn’t even a Mississippi museum. This is a museum for all the ship builders across the nation.”

One unique aspect of the ribbon cutting was a christening of the museum, honoring the maritime roots. 

ribbon-cutting Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

The next phase of the museum is projected to be complete in 2020, and will include the actual museum housed in the old math and science building of the high school.

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Ocean Springs school offering tuition for advanced courses

Ocean Springs School District will accept nonresident students interested in pursuing classes in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone program.

Nonresident students are those whose primary residence is outside of the Ocean Springs School District boundaries. 

This opportunity will allow students outside of the district a chance to still pursue more rigorous coursework in preparation for higher learning. 

For more details, visit the website or call 228-875-0333.

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Community Gathers to Fight Disease

The Chevron team poses at the MS walk on Saturday, March 11 in Ocean Springs.

Pat Wiley poses with the rest of his team at the MS Walk in Ocean Springs on March 11.

Runners, walkers and volunteers alike gathered along the beach in Ocean Springs Saturday morning all working toward one cause, to end multiple sclerosis. 

The Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter of Walk MS hosted its annual walk March 11, with numerous participants turning out to help those affected by multiple sclerosis, donating time and money to the cause.

Pat Wiley lives with this disease, and participates in multiple fundraisers like Saturday’s walk.

“I’ve been working with this for years with various fundraisers and to see people from all walks of life come together, it really is inspiring,” Wiley said.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is characterized by damage to an individual’s nervous system caused by the immune system. When impulses traveling to and from the brain encounter these damaged nerves, the signals are distorted, creating a wide variety of symptoms. 

According to the National MS Society, the disease is thought to affect roughly 2.3 million people in the world; however, the disease is difficult to diagnose, as there is no single, definitive test for MS.

The team from Mississippi Power is currently the top team with nearly $3,000 raised in donations.

Other top teams include Making Strides for Shannon at $1,240 raised and Navigator Credit Union at $1,210 raised. But for people like Wiley, it isn’t all about the size of the donation.

“Every donation, no matter how large or small, counts because they all go together,” he said. This organization is the largest collector of funds to help bring an end to MS.”

Donations raised at Saturday’s walk will go toward multiple avenues of aid to those affected by MS.

“The money goes for a variety of things,” Wiley said. “This association is the biggest funder of research, but also to provide services to people who can’t afford. So it’s everything to providing to people suffering from MS to providing research dollars that go into treatments and cures of this disease.”

Anyone who was unable to attend the walk but would still like to donate can still do so at the National MS Society at nationamssociety.org/donate.

“It’s going to take all of us working together to bring an end to this disease,” Wiley added.

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Volunteers Partner for Home Fire Prevention

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Chevron Pascagoula Refinery recently partnered with the American Red Cross, Pascagoula Fire Department and U.S. Navy volunteers to educate local residents about fire safety. More than 50 volunteers gathered on Feb. 3 to go door-to-door in east Pascagoula to pass out educational material and install free smoke alarms in homes where there are no working smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, or alarms that were not installed correctly.

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Charity Run Nets $2,500 for Home of Grace for Women

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The Chevron Women’s Network Charity 5K Run was held in Pascagoula in June and raised $2,500 to benefit Home of Grace for Women , an addiction treatment center in Jackson County.

This marked the 13th annual event, which is sponsored by the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery Women’s Network and hosted by the Gulf Coast Running Club. More than 100 runners participated.

Spearheaded by Women’s Network site leader Ginger Grafton (Planning) and event coordinator Vickie Garner (HES), the 5K run and 1-mile fun run started and finished at the Beach Park in Pascagoula.

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Give. Volunteer. Advocate. Live United.

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Beginning in September, the United Way for Jackson and George Counties will once again raise funds and awareness for its services and member agencies during the annual giving campaign. Annuitants Freddie Perryman and Jerry Hoag will head the Refinery’s internal employee campaign.

The mission of the United Way is to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another. The organization has 19 member agencies, including groups like American Red Cross, Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, Home of Grace and the Girl and Boy Scouts.

Employee contributions are eligible to be matched through Chevron’s Humankind program, doubling the impact of every donation. Funds donated by Chevron and its employees traditionally account for more than 30 percent of the entire community campaign.
Employees have two options when deciding how to contribute – they can give a onetime contribution or sign up for an automatic payroll deduction. The payroll deduction is arranged through the Humankind website, which is accessible from the Refinery’s intranet homepage.

As a way for the Refinery to recognize employees for their support to the annual campaign, drawings will be held for numerous prizes. All contributors will be entered into our annual prize drawing for the following: one $1,000 cash prize; one day off with pay; gas gift cards; a custom crafted Paul LeBatard filet knife; a reserved employee parking spot at the PNC and Admin. Building, and more.

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Chevron Employees Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

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Chevron Pascagoula Refinery partnered with Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to help build a new home in Pascagoula.
In July, 22 refinery employees volunteered at the new Fowler Fields subdivision, which is located off Lanier Avenue. Workers painted porches and built and installed louvered panels.
This is the refinery’s second year to partner with Habitat for Humanity. Special thanks to the following volunteers: Marissa Badenhorst (M&R), Garrett Beech (Technical), Amy Brandenstein (PGPA), Timothy Byrd (M&R), Bruce Chinn (Refinery Manager), Paul Gray (Oils Planning) and wife Elizabeth, Kevin Hofer (Technical), Sena Jones (RLT assistant), Jacquelyn Modist (M&R), Tony Price (Technical), Tammy Richards (management assistant), Alice Robinson (Procurement), Joe Robison (Operations), Jerry Scott
(M&R), Michael Seales (M&R), Melanie Smothers (Cracking II), Garrett Taylor (Coker) and his wife Allison, Asiyeh Zakermosala (Technical), Allan Zieber (Lab) and his son Allan.

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