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Pascagoula River Audubon Center
Moss Point, MS
Mark Your Calendars for Birds of a Feather
The 2023 Birds of a Feather fundraiser is shaping up to be an event you don’t want to miss! 

Each year the Center opens its doors to current and potential donors as an effort to provide updates on happenings, changes and updates.  This year’s event is no different except the format is a bit different.

Join us for an Evening on the Bayou to mingle with other members of our flock, enjoy a taste of some of the best local cuisine, be part of the unveiling of a new exhibit, and tap your toes to the tunes of “Jen and Tonic.” Event tickets are $75 per person or $125 per couple. No tickets will be sold the evening of the event, and only a limited number of tickets is available.

This is an excellent opportunity to bring along a friend or two to share in the beauty of Rhodes Bayou that you know all too well.

To purchase tickets, click HERE or give us a call at (228) 475-0825.  Unable to attend but want support PRAC, click HERE to make a donation.  
Support Those Who Support PRAC
Thanks to the overwhelming response from sponsors and chefs, this year’s Birds of a Feather is expected to be the best ever!

The Premiere sponsor this year is Ingalls Shipbuilding.  PRAC has a great relationship with the local shipbuilding company dating back to its very beginnings. This year PRAC is proud to announce them as the premiere sponsor.  Benefactor sponsors are Chevron and Mississippi Power.

The list of business sponsors of PRAC is extensive, but those sponsors who specifically chose Birds of a Feather to sponsor are being spotlighted.  This list includes some new members to our flock along with some with an established relationship.  Please thank the following fundraiser supporters: Allen Beverages Pepsi, Bacot Foundation of South Mississippi, Beau Rivage, Boomtown Casino, Burnham Drugs, Cadence Bank, Community Bank, Compton Engineering, Heritage Funeral Services, Lamar Advertising and Mississippi Security Police.  There are also a few private sponsors of the fundraiser, and the advisory committee is still working on a few others.

Celebrity Chefs will also be on site serving up a taste of the local area to include Hurricane Shrimp, Shrimp and Grits, just to name a few.  Please support these local restaurants and food trucks:  Brady’s Steaks and Seafood, Bryan’s Steamer, Jack’s By the Tracks, Murky Waters, Scranton’s Restaurant and Catering, Tay’s BBQ, The Lumberyard and The Flamin’ Pepper.

Tickets are $75 per person and $125 per couple. Get yours HERE!
Native Plants Making Way Through State Capital
The Act To Designate Each April As "Mississippi Native Plant Month" is working its way through both the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate.  This bill is designed to preserve the heritage and the importance of native plants for clean air, water, and soil stability.  

In 2021, both legislative groups designated one week during the month of April as “Native Plant Awareness Week” in response to a request made by the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.  For four years, PRAC has hosted native plant sales in the spring and fall, and this year will be no different.

Jill Mastrototaro, Audubon Delta Policy Director for Mississippi is encouraging Mississippians to support this bill by making contact with local legislators.  She notes that House (HB 1047) is co-sponsored by both parties, and simply promotes the importance of the state’s native plants. Companion Senate bill (SB 2137) is co-sponsored by both parties, too, and does the very same thing.The introduction and passage of this bill to designate April as “Mississippi Native Plant Month” would support the state’s natural heritage and wildlife, celebrate its unique culture, and promote economic development. A national designation for April as Native Plant Month was made in 2022.

It also complements PRAC’s long history of education and tourism programming, its efforts to beautify coastal communities, its beautiful property, and very popular native plant sales. Other organizations supporting this initiative include Mississippi Garden Clubs, Native Plant Society, landscapers and gardeners at the MSU landscaping symposium, master gardeners and master naturalist groups.

Neither of these bills allocates any funding but simply provides an avenue for further education and awareness for the use of native plants in the landscape which create bird-friendly habitats. More information on Audubon’s native plant initiative can be found HERE.

PRAC Hosted MEEA Gathering
A meeting of the “environmental education” minds was recently held at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center as the Mississippi Environmental Education Alliance hosted its first regional gathering.

PRAC Education Manager Katie Fetzer is one of 11 members who make up the MEEA Board and was instrumental in the planning, facilitation and execution of this gathering of more than 20 EE enthusiasts.  

Throughout the day-long meeting, the group of coastal environmental educators shared ideas, asked questions, and networked with like-minded professionals. This was one of five statewide gatherings designed bring together environmental educators.

Through a coalition of support, MEEA’s mission is to promote formal and informal environmental education throughout Mississippi by sharing resources, facilitating networking and encouraging stewardship. The overall vision of this organization is a state where all persons in Mississippi connect with nature and promote environmental stewardship.

To learn more about MEEA, click HERE.

Photo entries
Call For Photo Entries for Local Exhibit
The 2023 Audubon Photo Contest is underway, and photo entries will be accepted soon.  The 2023 Outdoor and Nature Photography Contest is open for entries!  The Pascagoula River Audubon Center is looking forward to some excellent photography as usual.

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center (PRAC) will be accepting photo entries between March 1 and March 31, 2023.  Photographers may submit up to 5 photos with an entry fee of $5 per photo. Photography that depicts the local area is preferred; however, the contest is open any photography.

This year a few things regarding the contest have changed; however, the basics of the contest will remain the same. All finalists will have their photographs on display in the PRAC River Room Photography Exhibit from May 20 until June 30.

There will be three (3) photo categories this year

Wildlife:  i.e., Wild Animals - Birds, Fish, Insects and Critters, etc.

Nature:  i.e., Vegetation - Plants, Flowers, Trees, Leaves, etc.

Landscape:  i.e., Natural Scenery - Marsh, Coastline, Rivers, Weather, Sunrise, etc.
Click HERE for more information.

The National Audubon Society is also accepting photo entries for its 2023 contest.  The deadline for entries is March 1.  Click HERE for more information about the NAS contest. 
PRAC Releases 2023 Discovery Camp Dates
Dates for the 2023 Discovery Camps are now available, but registration for camps will not open until March 31, 2023.  Space will be limited, and the age grouping has changed a bit for this summer.

Camp tuition is $175 for all participants in 5-day camps and $140 for participants in 4-day camps. Members receive a $15 tuition discount. Payment for all camps will be due by June 10, 2023.

Camp runs Monday/Tuesday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please send your camper with both a snack and a bag lunch. We do not provide any food to campers.

More information regarding summer camps can be found HERE.
PRAC Partners with Gulf Coast Community Foundation
A new relationship has begun between PRAC and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Foundation with a recent grant award.

PRAC received a $10,000 check from MGCCF for wildlife habitat protection and education from the Jack A. and Gertrude W. Wilson Animal Welfare Fund.

This is the first of many opportunities PRAC will have to work with this organization.
Audubon Academy Welcomes FabLab and Schoolie!
PRAC hosted a great Audubon Academy for homeschool students! Grades K-2 made their own 3D habitat posters while grades 3-5 got a "taste" of all the phases of the moon. While going on a nature walk, someone even spotted a Banded Water Snake that came out to soak up the unseasonably warm January air. 

The Jackson County Fab Lab is coming to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center for the February 8 session of Audubon Academy.  From 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. the 3rd to 8th grade students will be enrolled in an "Introduction to Coding & Robotics" course with Fab Lab certified educators. The cost is $10 per student, and caregivers are welcome to drop off participants or remain on site.  

Another special treat for Audubon Academy will be a visit from Schoolie on February 22.  PRAC is partnering with Old School Learning Depot for a variety of programs and festivals.  Tuition for the Schoolie session for 3rd through 5th grade students is $15.  Register here.
Tracking Black Skimmer Movement
By Abby Darrah, PhD

Black Skimmers form large daytime roosts on mainland Mississippi from roughly mid October to mid March. The largest roosts are typically in Gulfport, and roosts of > 1,000 individuals have been recorded at Jones Park. Coast wide winter counts are typically greater than breeding season counts, indicating that at least some skimmers visit Mississippi’s shores only for the winter. Until recently, very little was known about the annual movement patterns of these birds.

Recent research in other parts of the Gulf has shed light on the migratory habits of Gulf Coast skimmers. In Texas, skimmers fitted with satellite tags during the breeding season have been tracked to a variety of locations some birds remained in Texas throughout the winter, while others migrated as far south as Costa Rica. Individuals that migrate long distances do so every year, while other members of their breeding colony might stay put every year.

Band resights on the Gulf Coast of Florida have shown that most skimmers breeding around St. Petersburg move south to the Naples area for the winter, but some have been seen all across Florida and even Mississippi. It is thought that this individually variable migration system can help create a resilient population, in that individuals from the same breeding population experience a wide range of conditions throughout the winter.

Skimmer banding in Mississippi has begun filling in the gaps in our understanding of Gulf wide movement patterns. Relatively few of Mississippi’s breeding Black Skimmers have been seen on the Mississippi mainland in the winter, with some migrating at least as far as Naples, Florida. On the other hand, birds banded in the winter on the Mississippi mainland return to these winter roosts year after year.

Where most of them go to breed remains an open question, but an upcoming project using satellite telemetry will help answer this. Audubon’s recent launch of skimmer banding in Grand Isle, Louisiana, will also provide further opportunity to learn about regional skimmer movements. Understanding movement patterns is crucial to planning effective conservation measures at the regional scale.

More information about the Coastal Birding Stewardship Team, click Here.
SREPA Volunteers Tackle Invasive Species
In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Singing River Electric Co-Op sponsored Days of Service and allowed its employees to spend time volunteering at various places.

This team spent several hours working at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center removing invasive species of trees and shrubs under the direction of Arborist David Minkler.  The group cleared a large spot on the front lawn that will give native plants space to flourish.

PRAC is always looking for individuals or groups interested in completing service projects, both inside and outside.  Anyone interested in volunteering should email us
Artist Steve Shepard Exhibit Open Now!
The exquisite work of Steve Shepard is the talk of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center as it hangs in the Moss Point Fine Art Gallery.  The designs and imagination of his art actually leave a lot to the imagination of the viewer.  Each inspection of a piece of his work offers and opportunity to see something new.  

The exhibit is open during regular business hours through March 7.  For more information about the artist, click HERE

Pascagoula River Audubon Center
5107 Arthur St., Moss Point, MS 39563
(228) 475-0825 |

© 2023 National Audubon Society, Inc.

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