PICAYUNE — Some places you encounter in nature seem to have an ancient beauty, a sense of timelessness. Still, other landscapes, although “young” in age, are capable of compelling a visitor to stop and stand motionless, straining to capture every sound and movement the place contains. The Arboretum contains many of these special places. Each day, I am treated to the chorus of a family of wood thrushes nesting in the dense woods near our Visitor Center. Every morning and evening I hear their sweet songs echoing through the forest. Amidst the hectic daily pace at our public garden, the reliable timing of these birds’ exquisite performance makes for a welcome respite in an otherwise unpredictable day. The woods around the Visitor Center contain much more birdlife this spring than in previous years. Although my skills are limited for identifying the species through their songs, it is apparent that both the numbers and variety of the birds have been increasing. Are you an avid birder? If so, please know that you are invited to sit a spell on our deck and turn your ear toward the forest, to compile a species list of what you hear. We would happily supply you with pen and paper. Sometimes when I hear the wood thrush’s beautiful song, I’m reminded of a visitor who had innocently inquired about when this bird would be returning. Now I am certain that her question was prompted because she, too, had heard the incredible tunes emanating from our forest, and had known this species’ habit of returning each year to the same spot. It was because of her question that I am now held firmly under its spell each spring. Even though our Woodland Exhibit has been developing for only about 30 years, and is considered a “young” forest, many areas within this exhibit already make a strong impression due to their distinctive character. A walk through the Arboretum will reveal numerous areas within the 64 acre property to stimulate one’s sense of enchantment. One person’s sense of wonder might be moved by open spaces. Stand on the edge of the Savanna Exhibit, and watch the grasses undulating in the breeze, and listen to the wind in the longleaf pine trees. Others may be stirred by the reflection of the pines in our Piney Woods Pond. What might you experience if you take a deep breath while standing on the hidden landing of Cypress Head, nestled among the native iris and towering cypress trees? Only a few years old, our new Gum Pond already possesses an arresting, magical presence. Many visitors, having stood on its landing, gazing across the shallow water, have described it as a “secret garden” most definitely worth the search. Here, dragonflies zoom above the water’s surface, and water striders skim the top of the water. Wildlife tracks are often spotted in the soft mud of the pond bank, and along the nearby stream channel. On rainy or wet days, throughout the Arboretum, you might be surprised by a frog belting out an aria or two. A slight breeze can set off a rustling throughout the forest. A striking pink orchid might wink at you from among the grasses. Turtles make swift beelines toward visitors who walk the Aquatic Journey’s landings or bridges, or perch on the edge of the Pinecote Pavilion. Recently, one of our tour groups was treated to an “off-trail” adventure. We entered the woods to visit a spot with some unusual plants that thrive in the shade. One was a sweet little ginger (Asarum) with mottled heart-shaped leaves, planted at the top bank of a waterway of the Slough Exhibit. The broad leaves of golden club (Orontium) grow nearby in the shallow water, tufts of chain fern (Woodwardia) carpet the forest floor, and on the buttresses of trees growing in the water we see thick layers of moss. Another plant found on these cool stream banks is partridgeberry, also called twinflower (Mitchella repens). This vine has tiny leaves and attractive tubular white flowers held in pairs along the stem. On a recent program about edible native plants, Darla Pastorek described the strikingly large red berries that will develop later in the year on this creeping perennial. Trees and shrubs growing in this area include black gum (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora), bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), and red star anise (Illicium floridanum). Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), and needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), the most cold hardy species of palm in the southeastern U.S. are also found nearby. All of these plants located within this delightful stream bank microcosm revel in the moisture here. All that is missing is you. A research study is currently being conducted by Senior Curator Richelle Stafne that seeks to determine the possible causes for reasons affecting visitation to the Crosby Arboretum. If you have not yet participated, please consider doing so. The link for the short survey can be found on our website and will be available until mid-June. Join us for a program on passion flower on Friday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to noon. Dr. Eric Stafne, MSU Associate Extension Research Professor, will discuss both the ornamental and edible uses of our native “maypops.” On Saturday, June 8, a gentle yoga class will be conducted from 9 to 10 a.m. on the Pinecote Pavilion by certified yoga instructor James Sones. Both programs are free to Arboretum members and $5 for non-members. For more information, or to sign up for a program, visit www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu or call (601)799-2311. The Crosby Arboretum is located in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59). For further exploration: If you have not yet heard a wood thrush sing, find a site on the Internet where you can listen to its unique song. Learn to identify the plants mentioned above. Perhaps you have them in your yard, or will see them the next time you visit the Arboretum.
Picayune Community Spotlight: Picayune Police Department
The Picayune Police Department has had a year of progress in the war on drugs, 911 capability and high visibility which in no small part has been due to focus on goals; cooperation of city officials and community support and departmental commitment— for example, everyone received the Chief’s Award from Police Chief Bryan Dawsey at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Parker brings Christmas to 95 children
Cathryn Paker has spent all year diligently working on giftboxes for children she will never see. On Thursday, for the fifth consecutive year, she presented those 95 giftboxes for children in need to Christian Care Ministries on behalf of herself and her church, St. Barnabus Anglican Church.
Third annual Christmas on the Rails and Shopping by Candlelight
The Third Annual “Christmas on the Rails” is from 5 until 8 p.m. Friday in conjunction with Picayune Main Street’s Shop by Candlelight and Art Works sponsored by Greater Picayune Arts Council (GPAC). Art Works and Shop by Candlelight go on until 9 p.m. Sometime during the evening, the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce will announce the winner of the Best Decorated Store Front contest.
CWC Pilgrimage: A second time around
D.L. and Sandra Barker Bolton invite you to join them for the “second time around” as they open their home for the Civic Woman’s Club Christmas Pilgrimage to be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 until 7 p.m.
Both of them were on the first tour of homes when Civic Woman’s Club started the Pilgrimage in 1986. D.L. and his late wife, Wanda, had a Renaissance Christmas, and Sandra and her late husband, Larry, had a Victorian Christmas.
Business withstands test of time
McDonald Funeral Home, now owned and operated by Steve and Ann
McDonald, is a 96-year-old family run business with several long time
employees and was the recent recipient of the 2013 Excellence in
Business Award from the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.
Vocability: Did Black Friday make you blue?
The holiday shopping season has begun and in its honor this week’s
column relates to retail terminology.
Anyone who has either had a part-time job or has been known as a
frequent shopper has most likely encountered several of these terms.
Match the ones you know and learn the others because it will give you
a whole perspective on your shopping experience.
As always, the answers are at the bottom of the column.
Partners delivers Presents for Pearl River County
“Our vision was to coordinate with all three county school districts and have students anonymously adopted like the programs used with ‘Angel Tree’ and such,” said Herndon, who is Children's Minister at First Baptist Church in Picayune. “We have two locations for trees that will have ornaments representing children in need. One is at Coast Electric in Picayune and the other is at the Poplarville Courthouse.”
Coast Electric is located at 6375 U.S. 11, in Picayune. The Poplarville Courthouse is located at 200 Highway 26 E, in Poplarville. The trees are conveniently located for access when the facilities are closed.
Toys for Tots registration and drive
Boxes are available in Picayune, Poplarville, Crossroads, Millard, McNeill and Carriere.
In Picayune, a few of the many locations to find them are: Crosby Library, Highland Community Hospital, Picayune Police Department and SPCA. In Poplarville, a few of the many locations to find them are: Jacob’s Well, Chamber of Commerce and Hancock Bank. In Crossroads, a box is located at Crossroad Seafood and Grill. In McNeill, a box is located at McNeill Travel Plaza. In Carriere, boxes can be found at Hide-A-Way Lake and PRC School ROTC.
To sign up, go to WORC from Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec 6, during the hours of 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. through noon. Those needing further information can call 769-926-1333.
Fred Cruse Foundation again giving away bicycles
All donations can be either dropped off or mailed to Fred’s Westside Pharmacy located at 207 Kirkwood St., Picayune, MS 39466. For more information call Diane Cruse at 601-798-8888.
Angel Tree for children
Trees with angel ornaments to adopt can be found at Wal-Mart and Highland Community Hospital. Those who would like to sponsor a child through Angel Tree, or find out more about it, may call the church at 601-798-6301 or visit the Internet site at www.angeltree.org.
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