MSU’s Crosby Arboretum gets new director

Published 1:36 am Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pat Drackett is the new director of Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum in Picayune.

The Crosby Arboretum was established in 1980 as a living memorial to timber pioneer and philanthropist L.O. Crosby Jr. It is part of MSU’s Coastal Research and Extension Center and showcases the native plant species of the Pearl River Drainage Basin of south-central Mississippi and Louisiana.

Drackett has been the senior curator at the arboretum since 2007. In that role, she has developed, implemented and promoted the arboretum’s programs and public events, including the popular BugFest and annual Piney Woods Heritage Festival.

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She also helped coordinate and manage two concert series that featured popular musicians from around the area. Since her arrival at the arboretum, Drackett has provided public outreach and education to the area’s schools and community organizations.

“Pat has helped the arboretum become a part of people’s lives by maintaining its beauty and developing new programs for people of all ages,” said Patricia Knight, head of MSU’s Coastal Research and Extension Center. “As director, she’ll continue to engage the community and help visitors appreciate the original vision for the Crosby Arboretum.”

A lifelong gardener, Drackett earned a bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Louisiana State University. She spent 20 years as a landscape designer and horticultural consultant before working at the arboretum.

“I truly have the best job in the whole world,” Drackett said. “Promoting Mississippi’s native plants and sharing with the community the wealth of recreational and educational opportunities at the arboretum is what I love most. My work is focused on celebrating the beauty of the arboretum and keeping its history alive.”