This Jewel of Jackson County has been providing Stewardship, Research, Education, and Training about our unique coastal estuaries for 19 years now. The Grand Bay Estuarine Research Reserve plays an important role by partnering with local industry, schools, and professional science and research venues to gather important data and research to help us preserve the coastal environment we all enjoy here. Established in 1999 under the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) as part of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR), it is 18,000 acres of pure coastal beauty.
The savannas, salt marshes/pannes, bays, and bayous here along the Pascagoula and Escatawpa River deltas are among some of the most beautiful and unique anywhere on the planet. The Grand Bay NERR had its humble beginnings with a few modular commercial trailers and dedicated staff in 1999. It has now grown into its own sporting a ground breaking 20,000 square foot Coastal Resources Center. The building was the state’s first government owned LEED Gold Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Inside you’ll find meeting space, classrooms, interactive exhibits, dorms and private rooms for visiting researchers along with administrative offices. Basically, the Grand Bay NERR put its building money where its heart is; environmental stewardship, energy savings, ecology, and low impact footprint. The sustainable design strategy can be seen throughout the facility. But, the GBNERR is much more than a wonderful building.
Look past the Coastal Research Center and you’ll find boardwalks, birding trails, blueways for paddling, and yes, even hunting by permit. If you’re looking for wildlife sightings, well, you will find it. Check this link for a list of typical sightings, stories, and photographs. You will also enjoy the many family friendly and community oriented events the GBNERR offers throughout the year. There are programs for all ages that educate and stimulate.
You can check out their Facebook page @GrandBayNERR and their website, grandbaynerr.org, for details on all the events and educational opportunities offered there. The professional, knowledgeable staff also will come and speak to your group/organization OR you can plan to bring your group to their large meeting room for a change of scenery and pace.
The Grand Bay NERR is a true jewel in our community with so much to offer and they would like you to celebrate their 19th year with them! On June 15th, from 10AM-2PM, they are having a birthday party with a special look at “Bewildering Bugs“ that are unique to the reserve area. Sandra Huynh, Director’s Assistant at Grand Bay NERR says, “There will be family friendly games, crafts, trail tours, & more…Be sure to pack your lunch for a picnic!” Are you busy on June 15th? Maybe bugs aren’t your thing? Well, no worries! June 16th they will host a Rain Barrel Workshop from 9 AM – 11 AM. Learn more about how to “collect and store water during storms that can be used for: watering your lawn or plants in your garden, washing your pets, and cleaning your car. They are a great way to save money on your water bill while helping reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff.” Then, you get to build your very own rain barrel! Please contact Dennis McGrury to register (228-523-4190 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Cost is $35 per barrel constructed.
HAPPY 19TH BIRTHDAY GRAND BAY NERR! Jackson County is fortunate to have you!