Urban Waterways Research Project: Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

A third stop on our tour of the Mississippi/Alabama coast was the small town of Moss Point, Mississippi.  A small community with a population less than 20,000 people, Moss Point was hit by the strong eastern side of Hurricane Katrina, when it passed 30 miles east of central New Orleans. Much of Moss Point was flooded or destroyed in one day, by the strong hurricane-force winds which lasted several hours and a storm surge exceeding 20 feet in some areas.  You can see some of the devastation at Moss Point in the wake of the hurricane here.

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

We were coming to tour the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, a part of the National Audubon Society: a non-profit organization focused on promoting conservation and education about birds and wildlife and the habitats that support them. Perched on the watershed of the Pascagoula River, one of the last, large, free-flowing river systems in the contiguous United States, a state of the art green building houses the center.  This place is a birder’s paradise, with over 300 species of birds enjoying the ecosystem there.

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Here, Mark LaSalle at the center gives a tour of the wetlands around the center. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Here, Mark LaSalle at the center gives a tour of the wetlands around the center.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Mark LaSalle is the Director of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. Mark is responsible for coordinating the continued development of the  Center and expanding Audubon’s educational and citizen science programs in south Mississippi. Mark is a wetland ecologist, providing expertise on wetlands, water quality and environmental impacts of humans.  Mark is the recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator Award, and the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award.

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Here, Mark LaSalle at the center gives a tour of the wetlands around the center. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Here, Mark LaSalle at the center gives a tour of the wetlands around the center.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Mark’s passion for his work is palpable as he shows us around the Center and the many sustainable environmental practices they have implemented.  He also saved an original 1930’s boy scout cottage on the center’s site which is used for small group meetings.  He was instrumental in helping the community leaders of Turkey Creek protect that body of water from further development.

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – Inside the restored cottage of Mississippi Boy Scout Troop 220, dating from 1932.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Together, Audubon and community leaders in Gulfport, Mississippi are protecting Turkey Creek‘s rich cultural and natural history. When LaSalle became director of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, 30 miles from Turkey Creek, he brought with him a commitment to the community’s plight. With local activist Derrick Evans,  Mark began small with simple events like Creek Sweep focused on getting people into the “creek” to remove decades of debris.

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – Development on the Pascagoula River near the Audubon Center at Moss Point, Mississippi.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Promotion of the Great Backyard Bird Count and a one-day Biological Inventory of the creek helped to highlight just how special the area was as a refuge for common birds and wildlife and as an important stopover for migrating birds in spring and fall. The value of the site for birds led Audubon and the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society to recognize Turkey Creek as a site on the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail.

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – The Pascagoula River Audubon Center coopted the resources of a visiting artist to make these murals on the center’s fence at Moss Point, Mississippi.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

“The Turkey Creek community has long recognized Audubon’s role in helping it raise attention about the value of our natural areas for birds and people and for being the first group of naturalists to do so. Being identified on Audubon’s Coastal Birding Trail by Judy Toups, Don McKee and Mark LaSalle, provided a pivotal boost to our credibility and confidence as a place that is important beyond our immediate borders.”– Derrick Evans

December 10, 2015 - The Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

December 10, 2015 – The Chimney Swift Tower, built by a boy scout for his project, provides shelter to the only swift occurring regularly in the east. It once nested in hollow trees, but today it nearly always nests in chimneys or other structures. Because the bird can be easily captured and banded in such situations, it has been studied much more thoroughly than other North American swifts. In late summer, hundreds or even thousands of individuals may roost in one large chimney, gathering in spectacular flocks overhead near dusk..
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Many other organizations have joined forces with the Turkey Creek Community Initiative , established by Derrick in 2003 with a mission “to conserve, restore and utilize the unique cultural, historical and environmental resources of the Turkey Creek community and watershed for education and other socially beneficial purposes.”

I left inspired by the good work that Mark LaSalle and his staff do at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point, Mississippi: from preservation to education, advocacy and coalition building, the center is doing good work to preserve the environmental resources for future generations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

 

Anacostia Community Museum Urban Waterways Citizen Scientist Program Honored by State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board

October 31, 2015- Graduated student Cristal Sandoval assists new student Iyona Whitehead while Howard University Chemistry Professor Vernon Morris and State Farm Representative Angela Rosser watch the test they students are conducting.  The group were on an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Graduated student Cristal Sandoval assists new student Iyona Whitehead while Howard University Chemistry Professor Vernon Morris and State Farm Representative Angela Rosser watch the test they students are conducting. The group were on an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

It was a wonderful Fall afternoon near Kennilworth Park in Southeast Washington when a bus carrying Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientists, representatives from State Farm Insurance, and local academics from the University of DC and Howard University arrived to monitor the water quality of the Anacostia watershed. After the data collection, the team reconnoitered back at the Anacostia Community Museum’s program room for a presentation and luncheon honoring the State Farm Youth Advisory Board‘s funding of the Urban Waterways Citizen Scientist Program in 2016.

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a unique charitable giving board.  It is comprised of thirty students, ages 17-20, from across the United States and Canada. They are charged with helping State Farm design and implement a $5 million-a-year signature service-learning initiative to address issues important to State Farm and communities across the United States. The Anacostia Community Museum is grateful to State Farm and their Youth Advisory Board for making the Urban Waterways Citizen Scientist Program possible.

 

 

October 31, 2015- Students M'Kya Denny and Iyona Whitehead of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen scientist program with teacher Allison Cawood during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Students M’Kya Denny and Iyona Whitehead of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen scientist program with teacher Allison Cawood during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

October 31, 2015- Smithsonian Director Michelle Delaney helps anchor a point of measurement during a visit to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park to watch the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program test water levels.  The program received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Smithsonian Director Michelle Delaney helps anchor a point of measurement during a visit to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park to watch the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program test water levels. The program received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Howard University biology professor Jenelle Burke watches over two students, Takia Holstein, left, and M'Kya Denny, right, during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Howard University biology professor Jenelle Burke watches over two students, Takia Holstein, left, and M’Kya Denny, right, during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Citizen Scientists Program manager Tony Thomas chats with Rebecca Bankhead of the Univeristy of DC, and Cassandra Carcamo of State Farm, during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Citizen Scientists Program manager Tony Thomas chats with Rebecca Bankhead of the Univeristy of DC, and Cassandra Carcamo of State Farm, during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Graduated student Cristal Sandoval assists new student Iyona Whitehead while Howard University Chemistry Professor Vernon Morris and State Farm Representative Angela Rosser watch the test they students are conducting.  The group were on an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Graduated student Cristal Sandoval assists new student Iyona Whitehead while Howard University Chemistry Professor Vernon Morris and State Farm Representative Angela Rosser watch the test they students are conducting. The group were on an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Citizen Scientist alum Zee Wright walks with Howard Professors Tracy Perkins and Vernon Morris during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Citizen Scientist alum Zee Wright walks with Howard Professors Tracy Perkins and Vernon Morris during an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- A group shot of the supporters and Citizen Scientists after an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- A group shot of the supporters and Citizen Scientists after an outing to a tributary of the Anacostia Watershed near Kennilworth Park in support of the Anacostia Community Museum’s Citizen Scientist Program which received support from State Farm.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Anacostia Community Museum Deputy Director Sharon Reinckens poses with State Farm Representative Angela Rosser, Tony Thomas, Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program Manager, Anacostia Community Museum Director of Development Tykia Warden, and Dwayne Redd of State Farm's Youth Advisory Board during a ceremony honoring State Farm's Youth Advisory Board's funding of the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- Anacostia Community Museum Deputy Director Sharon Reinckens poses with State Farm Representative Angela Rosser, Tony Thomas, Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program Manager, Anacostia Community Museum Director of Development Tykia Warden, and Dwayne Redd of State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board during a ceremony honoring State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board’s funding of the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- State Farm Representative Angela Rosser poses with Anacostia Community Museum Deputy Director Sharon Reinckens during a ceremony honoring State Farm's Youth Advisory Board's funding of the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- State Farm Representative Angela Rosser poses with Anacostia Community Museum Deputy Director Sharon Reinckens during a ceremony honoring State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board’s funding of the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- State Farm Representative Angela Rosser and Dwayne Redd  poses with members of the Anacostia Community Museum, student's in the museum's Citizen Scientist Program during a ceremony honoring State Farm's Youth Advisory Board's funding of the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program. Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

October 31, 2015- State Farm Representative Angela Rosser and Dwayne Redd poses with members of the Anacostia Community Museum, student’s in the museum’s Citizen Scientist Program during a ceremony honoring State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board’s funding of the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist Program.
Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

About the Citizen Scientist Program at the Anacostia Community Museum:

The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) Citizen Scientist Project (CSP) is an out-of-school time, scientific-inquiry-based enrichment program that introduces at-risk students to STEM concepts and careers through learning about the environment and civic engagement. CSP participants contribute to local, statewide, and national efforts to protect the Anacostia Watershed, one of the nation’s most densely-populated waterways. Program activities include independent and group research, field work that emphasizes science-based inquiry, public presentations, and behind-the-scenes access to Smithsonian scientists and educators.

Important community partnerships allow CSP participants to access professional facilities, world-class research and activities, and supplies and equipment facilitating meaningful community work. CSP began through a partnership with the United Planning Organization (UPO)—a nonprofit that serves low-income residents in the nation’s capital. The UPO group of 40 African American students hails from Washington’s Ward 7 and 8 neighborhoods which are largely affected by the degradation of the Anacostia River. The original group began the program as rising high school juniors, and will graduate this spring. A new cohort of rising sixth graders will join the UPO program this summer and will begin CSP activities in September.

Through CSP, the museum is training four classroom science teachers in Prince George’s County, MD to help implement this unique youth leadership program with students in an out-of-school time capacity. This will impact an additional 40 to 60 students in grades 5 through 12, serving predominately-minority student populations.  By engaging students in Prince Georges County and the District, CSP students will collect water quality data in two of the three jurisdictions of the Anacostia Watershed. Future plans to add classrooms in Montgomery County, MD will see the program “cover” the entire watershed with CSP activities.

 

Anacostia Community Museum Young Citizen Scientists Explore Lower Beaverdam Creek with State Farm

Last Saturday a group of intrepid young Citizen Scientists from the UPO POWER college prep program hopped on a bus departing from the Anacostia Community Museum to monitor biological and chemical markers in a tributary to the Anacostia Watershed, the Lower Beaverdam Creek in Cheverly, Maryland. Also attending were representatives from State Farm, Dwayne Redd and Lynn Heinrichs. State Farm supports the Anacostia Community Museum Citizen Scientist program through a grant.  Afterwards the group gathered for lunch back at ACM where State Farm presented the group with a giant check, literally. The Citizen Scientist program encourages environmental stewardship by training and supporting citizen volunteers to monitor and report back on their local ecology.

The ACM Citizen Scientist team pose with State Farm's Dwayne Redd and Lynn Heinrichs at the end of their data collection field trip.

Students from the Anacostia Community Museum's Citizen Scientist Program explore Lower Beaverdam Creek, a tributary of the Anacostia River during a field trip with State Farm staff, who support the program.   Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

Biologist Alison Cawood, of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) helps the students conduct their data collection. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Biologist Alison Cawood, of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) helps the students conduct their data collection.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

 

Dwayne Redd, of State Farm, right, poses with David McIntyre of Ballou High School and Anthony Lawson of Ideal Charter School, during the visit to Lower Beaverdam Creek. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Dwayne Redd, of State Farm, right, poses with David McIntyre of Ballou High School and Anthony Lawson of Ideal Charter School, during the visit to Lower Beaverdam Creek.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

State Farm agent Lynn Heinrichs helps the students with their data collection.

State Farm agent Lynn Heinrichs helps the students with their data collection.

 

Diamond Carter of National Collegiate PCS records the data for future reference.

Diamond Carter of National Collegiate PCS records the data for future reference.

Wading boots were mandatory during this early December visit to the Lower Beaverdam Creek. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Wading boots were mandatory during this early December visit to the Lower Beaverdam Creek.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

 

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