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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

Click the gallery above to view larger.

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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Community Gathers to Fight Disease

chevron-MS-walk-1 Community Gathers to Fight Disease

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

chevron-MS-walk-1 Community Gathers to Fight Disease

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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Lighten Up Ocean Springs

lets-go-gc-logo Lighten Up Ocean SpringsLighten Up Ocean Springs is a program offered by Let’s Go! Gulf Coast, an initiative of the MS Gulf Coast Youth Health Coalition.  Let’s Go! Gulf Coast is all about healthy eating and active living for MS Gulf Coast children, their families, and the communities in which they live, learn, work, and play!
 
Lighten Up Ocean Springs will be a free, two-month weight loss challenge.  The program aims to bring the entire community together in order to improve the health of its citizens and create a culture of healthy habits!  While targeting ‘health seekers,’ people who wish to lead healthier lives but are uncertain of where to begin, the program is open to anyone who wishes to improve upon their health.
 
The core essence of the program is the Lighten Up Ocean Springs Calendar.  The calendar depicts the two months the program operates and will list free events for participants to attend, by showing their Participant ID Card, 
each and every day.  Events will include, but not be limited to, exercise classes, nutrition classes, and healthy family events.
 

We are really hoping to expand and enhance the program this year – build on the success from last year!  The Lighten Up program first launched in Ocean Springs during the spring of 2016, where 376 people joined the program.  Participation grew even more when the program spread to Pascagoula last fall, with 574 people joining.   One new aspect of the program this year already: free, pre-diabetes screenings!  We welcome your ideas and suggestions for additional events and prizes, and any way you or your business might like to be involved!  We need to build and finalize the calendars by February 17th!  We will begin advertising this event to the public in the coming weeks.

Click here to read the full article!

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