PICAYUNE — On their recent tour, fifth grade students from Lamar Christian School in Purvis encountered a seemingly endless variety of wildlife, ranging from crawfish to inchworms, to writhing masses of spiny, newly-emerged caterpillars. There is no such thing as a “typical” walk around the Arboretum’s Pond Journey and Pitcher Plant Bog. Every venture reveals something new to every group of visitors. A spider on a silken thread bobs in front of us in the center of the pathway. We thrill to the exquisite song of a wood thrush that is nesting in the nearby trees. Turtles splash into the water, startled by the shouts and footsteps of approaching children. The tube-shaped leaves of the yellow pitcher plants are glowing in the south savanna. Children excitedly peer inside the hollow leaves looking for treasures. At this early time of year, not many insects have accumulated in the bottom of the “pitchers”. But don’t worry, it won’t be long until the bugs begin to pile up. Soon, the pink blossoms of pink meadow beauty (Rhexia spp.) will join the pitcher plants. Three species of Rhexia are found in the savannas. Yellow beauty (Rhexia lutea) will explode in a month or so, mixing with the pink species. Several species of milkweed are also found in the south pitcher plant bog. Fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata) is also called red milkweed. Its flowers are held high on thin stems, bright orange-red dots floating atop the surrounding grasses. The plant has increased in numbers over the past few years. You will have to look closely to spot the longleaf milkweed (Asclepias longifolia). This plant has clusters of many small purple blooms each reminiscent of a badminton shuttlecock and is one of the images featured on our website’s homepage. It is inconspicuous among the other bright colors of the bog, and only grows to about two feet. Skippers and other butterflies sip nectar from its wide flower clusters. Over fifty species of native orchids are found in Mississippi. Many of these grow in boggy areas in our coastal counties. The Arboretum contains several species of these bog orchids in the savannas, such as the pale grass pink orchid (Calopogon pallidus) and grass pink (C. tuberosus). These orchids get their names from their thin, grass-like leaves. The unusual blooms of rosebud orchids (Cleistes divaricate) were sighted in the south bog last year. This flower has three unusual brownish sepals held above pink drooping spetals. Rose pogonia orchid (Pogonia ophioglossoides), also known as snake mouth orchid,grows in the Arboretum’s acidic, boggy soils. These orchids are a beautiful rose pink color, with the throat of the bloom’s lower lip being densely bearded. It is sweetly scented, and pollinated by bees. Ladies’ tresses orchid (Spiranthes) has also been recorded in our savanna. Its flowers are small and white, and do not stand out among the grasses and other herbaceous plants, quite easy to walk past. The flowersoften have a distinctive spiral form up the stem. In addition to the bog orchids, the Arboretum also has epiphytic (found in trees) and aquatic species. Not all orchids are easily grown in the home garden. Because of their beauty, they are sometimes victims of gardeners who will collect them from the wild and attempt to establish them in a home landscape. Like the fate of many beautiful and rare wildflowers found in the Smoky Mountains, such as pink lady’s slipper orchid, many of these plants soon die due to being planted into areas which lack the specific conditions they need. Certain orchid species, which grow among the grasses and perennials found in coastal wet pine savannas, have become adapted to fire. Such areas also typically have extremely high numbers of plant species present. Over the course of a year, it is astonishing to watch as our meadows change in color from yellow to pink and back to yellow, purple, or sometimes covered in white polka dots. The hues and textures in the bog are certainly ever-changing. The prescribed burning we use as a management tool in the Savanna Exhibit does not harm the root systems of the plants found in these areas. The hot fire burns the grasses and plants above, and root systems remain protected below the soil. Nutrient-rich ash is deposited by the fire and stimulates new growth. Seeds germinate, and plants grow quickly in the open spaces and on the bare earth revealed by fire events. Any questions on the species that are adapted to live in areas that experience periodic fire will be answered by Sue Wilder, Regional Fire Ecologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, who will lead a spring field walk at the Arboretum on Friday, May 3 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sue will talk about the ecology of these habitats and how plants and animals, such as the gopher tortoise, have adapted to live in these environments. Learn more about the Arboretum’s orchids, and our coastal orchid species on Saturday, May 4 from 10 to 11 a.m. in a presentation by Glen Ladnier, long-time orchid enthusiast and member of the Gulf Coast Orchid Society. Glen will talk about the habitats, plant and flower characteristics, and conservation techniques. There will be an optional field trip offered in the afternoon. Members may attend both programs for free. Program admission is $5 for non-members and $2 for non-members’ children. A children’s program celebrating Mother’s Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. Decorate a terra cotta pot as a gift for Mom in this “Painted Pots” craft workshop. For more information on specific events, or to sign up for a program, please 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: Take a look on the Internet to see images of the native orchid species found at the Crosby Arboretum. One place to start is our Plant Data Base that is linked on the Arboretum’s home page.
Come on in the savanna is fine
United Way, library offer free programs for children
The United Way of South Mississippi (UWSM) has issued a press release stating that it now has more than 500 children enrolled in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a program that provides free books to children.
Christmas on the Rails and Shop by Candlelight recap
Christmas on the Rails has come and gone for 2013, but what remains are lots of happy memories for all who attended the event, in spite of inclement weather earlier in the day. The event combined Picayune Main Street Shop by Candlelight and Greater Picayune Art Council’s Art Works.
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.
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- United Way, library offer free programs for children