Mississippi Gulf Coast: How You Can Help People Affected By Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey continues to strengthen in the western Gulf of Mexico and is expected to land as the nation’s first Category 3 landfall in almost 12 years.

Weather.com predicts the storm to make landfall tonight or Saturday morning in the Texas Gulf Coast. Harvey will then stall or meander for several days, leading to a threat of catastrophic flooding in parts of Texas. Dangerous storm-surge flooding and damaging winds are also threats.

The Gulf Coast has received thousands of helping hands from other states after the impacts of hurricanes from Camille to Katrina. Now, it’s our turn to unite together and extend our resources to help the people of Texas and Louisiana. 

The city of Gautier has already gathered a crew that will be heading out to Texas to help with recovery, clean up and repair efforts after the storm makes landfall. If you would like to make a donation of supplies, (bottled water, canned goods, hygiene supplies, but NOT CLOTHES), then you may drop off at 1512 Highway 90 Gautier, Mississippi. The crew is currently unsure of when they will depart for Texas, so you still have time to drop off some supplies. 

In regards to our local organizations, The American Red Cross of Pascagoula is arranging to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey as well. “We’re in the middle of mobilizing and have over 100 volunteers on standby”, says Tamica Smith Jeuitt, Regional Director of Communications and Marketing Manager. 

The organization is currently on standby mode to see what specific areas Harvey will impact, but will be working closely with their emergency management partners to monitor every step of the way. “We’re refreshing training, fueling trucks, changing tires-preparing all that we can, so we’re ready to go when they call”. 

When asked how the people of Jackson County can help, Jeuitt suggested donating monetary funds to the organization and becoming certified to volunteer for future natural disasters. The American Red Cross of Pascagoula works with multiple, local and state-wide vendors and agencies to ensure there is plenty of food and means of shelter to provide for people, but they are “always in a constant replenish mode”, says Jeuitt. 

There will be a disaster cycle service, ‘Just In Time- Shelter Training’, session held tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations in Tupelo, Gulfport, Flowood, Laurel and Hattiesburg. Visit their training and certification page on the website for more details. 

You can make a $10 donation to help those affected from Hurricane Harvey by: texting ‘Harvey’ to 90999, visiting their website at redcross.org or calling the Pascagoula location at 228-762-2455. 





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Don’t Have Solar Eclipse Glasses Yet? Make Your Own With a Cereal Box

Be prepared for the total eclipse this afternoon, which will block about 75 percent of the sun on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this afternoon.

The eclipse will last about three hours, from noon to 3 p.m., and will peak for about two or three minutes at about 1:30 p.m., according to TimeAndDate.com, which provides eclipse details for every city in the U.S.

If you haven’t gotten your solar eclipse glasses yet, it’s not too late. NASA has came up with a low-tech and cost-friendly idea to make sure people can still view the eclipse while also preserving their eyesight. Using some items you can find around the house, you can make a pinhole projector, which allows you to see a reflected image of the event.


Cereal box


Aluminum foil




How to make it

Trace the bottom of a box on paper.

Cut out the rectangle.

Tape paper to inside bottom of box. (If you can’t tape the paper to the bottom of the box, you can just place it there – it should stay securely in place.)

Close the top of the box.

Cut two holes in the top of the box.

Cover one hole with foil.

Poke a small hole in the middle of the foil.

How to use it

Take your pinhole projector outside and face away from the sun so that its light shines into the pinhole.

Look through the hole you did not cover and you will see the sun projected on the white piece of paper inside the box.


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Information and Events for Solar Eclipse

For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will occur across the entire continental United States. 

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. “Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk”, according to NASA. 

The total eclipse starts near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 10:15 a.m. (12:15 p.m. Central time) and ends at 2:48 p.m. (1:48 Central Time) near Charleston, South Carolina, according to NASA, taking just over an hour and a half to cross the country. The partial eclipse will last about 2-3 hours and the total eclipse just over two minutes.

Branch libraries of the Jackson-George Regional Library System will host several events to celebrate the rare occurrence. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses that will be provided free of charge to those attending library events. 

Scheduled programs are as follows: 

  • Ocean Springs Municipal Library- Family Event, Saturday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m.
  • St. Martin Public Library- Monday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. 
  • Vancleave Public Library- Monday, Aug. 21, at 12 noon. 

For more information about library events, visit the library website at www.jgrls.org or find posts on Facebook @JacksonGeorgeLibraries. For more information on eclipse activities, observing assets, and viewing safety, visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

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Chevron partners with Audubon to measure water quality

Chevron’s environmental department teamed up with staff members at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center to conduct testings of the water quality in Bayou Chicot. Waterways near urban areas, such as the Pascagoula River and its tributaries, are often adversely affected by urban storm water runoff. Urban storm water runoff affects water quality, water quantity, habitat and biological resources, public health, and the aesthetic appearance of urban waterways. 

With so many different species relying on the water quality of the Pascagoula River, measuring and maintaining that quality is of great importance.  Chevron volunteers collected samples from the Bayou Chicot water stream and partnered with staff members at the Audubon Center in Moss Point. There, the scientists measured the samples and tracked the data. 
With the data, staff members at the Audubon Center will better understand changes made to the Pascagoula River system, the impact the local community has on the river system and how to conserve the existing habitats. 
Chevron volunteers who participated in this project include Amy Brandenstein, Trudi Dixon, Desiree Howell, LaDale Neese, Julie Gallego, Shannon Crane and Jeff Gephart from Chevron; and local volunteers David Blackledge and Orlando Gallego.


original article posted: May 22, 2017 refineryreports.com

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The Gulf Islands National Seashore is an essential summertime destination

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a unique feature to Jackson County because if its history, recreational opportunities and diverse wildlife.

“Gulf Islands National Seashore was established by congress in 1971, and it includes over 140,000 acres of north gulf coastline, all the barrier islands off the coast of Mississippi, the Davis Bayou area in Ocean Springs and there’s a big section of it in Florida outside of Pensacola as well,” says Park Ranger Chris Bramblett.

Locals throughout the county and tourists are able to come to the National Seashore at Davis Bayou to walk, run, cycle, explore wildlife and learn a thing or two at the visitor center. Free guided boat tours are offered to the public as well as guided kayaking tours starting this month.

“We have hiking trails in the area, if you do the round trip for all of our trails it’s just about 3 miles and that’s just in the Davis Bayou area,” says Bramblett.

The wildlife at the National Seashore ranges from various types of birds to alligators and various types of mammals. The most diverse wildlife can be found on Horn and Petty Boy Island since they are designated wilderness areas, meaning there is no permanent human activity and development on the islands.

“The Gulf Islands National Seashore gives people a green space and an opportunity to get out and explore the nature a little more. We have school groups that will come through here to learn more about the bayou ecosystem and the history as well, “explains Bramblett.

For more information about the Gulf Islands National Seashore, visit their website https://www.nps.gov/guis/index.htm or call 228-230-4100.

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MSU Extension offers agricultural assistance

Many people know about the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, working to understand more about the habitat of the Mississippi Sound. Jackson County also has another resource in the Mississippi State University Extension.

“We’re part of the university but not on the academic side,” said Terri Thompson, County Coordinator and Family Consumer Sciences agent. “Every county in the state of Mississippi gets two or three agents. Agents cover areas from agricultural, family consumer sciences, county coordinators, and 4-H.”

The purpose of the Extension Center and its agents is to assist the community in the areas of agriculture.

“One of the biggest things we do for Jackson County we have homeowners that come in they have tree questions, grass questions, or bug questions,” Thompson said. “We do soil testing, plant identification, bug identification. We may not do it in the office, but they can bring it to us and we can get it to the right person so say what the homeowner needs to do.

“I work with youth and adults, and I do programs with the Jackson County Civic Action Committee centered around different topics like hurricane preparation, nutrition and health, and money management. Caitlin McLeod is our 4-H Agent, and she works with youth ages 8-18. She works with a few community clubs like the horse club, livestock club, shooting sports club, and different activities throughout the school systems in Jackson County.”

For more information about the MSU Extension in Jackson County, visit their website. Keep up with their news and events by liking their Facebook page

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Ocean Springs recognized for climate resilience efforts

This article was originally published in May on the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium website.

Members of the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice honored the City of Ocean Springs for its work in the field of climate adaptation planning and environmental resilience.

Through a competitive process, group members voted for Ocean Springs to receive its 2017 Spirit of Community Award.

Each year, members of the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice select a municipality to recognize for outstanding leadership in climate adaptation and resilience planning. The group is made up of more than 300 education, outreach and extension professionals, community leaders and planners, whose work includes contributing to the resilience of coastal communities. Group members learn from each other about how coastal communities are adapting to sea-level rise, precipitation changes, coastal storms and other issues.

Since the inception of the Climate and Resilience Community of Practice in 2010, Ocean Springs has been an active member and participant that shares climate ideas, challenges and needs. The city regularly communicates with group members and leaders. These correspondences help the city leverage its resources and implement initiatives and policy proposals that have been outlined within the community of practice. Just recently, the city was awarded a series of small grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Storms Program to address various environmental risks, such as storm surge, coastal erosion and sea-level rise.

“The City of Ocean Springs has made great strides toward addressing future storm and flooding vulnerabilities,” said Tracie Sempier, regional program manager for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and coastal storms outreach coordinator for the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. “This award recognizes the city’s commitment to finding creative solutions to erosion control, stormwater runoff and flood mitigation. The city’s proactive approach serves as an example for other Gulf of Mexico communities.”

Most notably, the City of Ocean Springs recently proposed a modified living shoreline for property owned by Jackson County. The county supervisors agreed and implemented the Inner Harbor Park project, which will protect the area from further coastal erosion while preserving some of the basic ecological functions of the waterways in the park. The city found out recently that it will be able to implement living shoreline elements on Front Beach in FY2018 with support from the Mississippi Tidelands Trust Fund Program. The living shoreline design was developed through Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium awards. The use of this innovative coastal mitigation technique is an example of the city’s commitment to using local government resources to advance applied science. 

For more information about the Climate and Resilience Community of Practice, go to their website.

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Grand Bay NERR celebrates 18th birthday with a bash

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Eighteenth birthdays are one of the most important birthdays to experience, and Friday the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve celebrated its 18th birthday.

Established as a reserved on June 16, 1999, the Grand Bay NERR has spent nearly two decades researching and educating others about the unique environment in Jackson County.

“We do a lot of big community events, so we wanted to have this event to hype up the importance of the reserve here in the community,” said Education Coordinator Avery Sward. “Every single person who works here at the reserve is working on this event, so we have all come together to have such a big event with crafts and games and tours.”

The birthday bash offered fun for visitors of all ages, from environmentally-friendly crafts to exploring what the reserve had to offer.

“Today we are doing guided trail tours every half hour right by the entrance,” Sward said. “You can go down the trail with different scientists to learn more about the plants and animals in the area. We have a gentleman set up on a couple tables with artifacts to talk about the history and culture of the Grand Bay NERR and the civilizations that have lived on this land. We have games set up and eco-friendly crafts making bird feeders and leaf-print birthday cards. We also have a small science room with an opportunity to see things through a microscope, the small side of science.”

Anyone who might have missed the festivities didn’t miss a chance to explore the reserve. Anyone wishing to explore Grand Bay NERR can stop by and experience a tour, staff permitting. 

For more information about the reserve, visit their website.

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Children experience Sound at Sea Camp

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Sea Camp at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Lab is celebrating its 30th year this summer. 

That is three decades of educating Gulf Coast children about the Mississippi Sound and the larger environment of the Gulf Coast.

“Children in 1st through 6th grades get hands-on experience learning about their local environment,” said Summer Dorcik, Marine Education Specialist with the GCRL. “We take them on several different field trips, so it’s all very hands on.”

One of such field trips involved taking some of the kids out on the water.

“We talked about the estuary and salinity and the Mississippi Sound,” Dorcik said. “After that we pulled a trawl and got a population sample of the animals that were in there, like shrimp, crab, baby white trout, and even an alligator gar.”

The GCRL’s Sea Camp is a series of one-week day camps, allowing different age groups different adventures.

“With the 1st graders, because they are younger, we tend to stay more on property with that group,” Dorcik said. ” For kids in 3rd through 6th grades they get to go to Ship Island on Thursdays, so they are really excited about that. Wednesdays 5th and 6th graders they actually go out on the Pascagoula River.”

But why send your child to Sea Camp?

“It’s something awesome if you are looking for an experience your kids will never forget or something that might help them decide they like science or being out in the environment and being a steward of the environment,” Dorcik said. “That’s something I think kids take away from this experience.”

For more information about Sea Camp, visit the GCRL website.

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Grand Bay NERR to celebrate 18th birthday

The Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve will celebrate its 18th birthday this weekend.

The Grand Bay NERR was officially designated as a NERR on June 16, 1999, making it the 24th reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. There are now 29 reserves nationwide.

During Friday’s celebration, visitors will be able to enjoy games, crafts, and the reveal of some new additions to the reserve.

“We’ve recently made a trail for visitors to walk through the pine savanna,” said Sandra Huynh at Grand Bay NERR. “You can find the beginning of the trail right off the Savanna Trail Boardwalk behind the Coastal Resources Center.

“Although the 18th birthday is our plan for a soft opening of the trail, we may have to only show visitors the trail at this time, but not walk through it, because of all the recent rain.”

A Science Discovery Room will also be available to visitors during the celebration. 

“The Science Discovery Room will have a ‘Small Science’ theme, where guests can explore different environments through a microscope,” Huynh said. “We’ll have samples of water from our research stations in the estuary, all the way to exploring life in a ditch.”

The celebration will be held Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 6005 Bayou Heron Road in Moss Point.

For more information about the Grand Bay NERR, visit their website

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