Arboretum hosts Nature Discovery Day

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018

Thursday, the Crosby Arboretum held its Pinecote Nature Discovery Day, giving children and adults the opportunity to explore hands-on exhibits, watch live presentations and participate in guided botanical walks.   

Jennifer Buchanan, Educational Program Coordinator at the Arboretum, said the event was previously called Wildlife Day and was a way for attendees to get a glimpse of the wildlife living in Mississippi. This year, the aim was to allow everyone to discover and learn about nature and explore wildlife, she said.

Buchanan said the event was an opportunity for children to receive those lessons outside the classroom through the hands-on learning experience and fun activities.

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The event features information about art, biology, marine and coastal ecology, beekeeping and several other topics.

Nine upper elementary students from the Treehouse Montessori Christian School in Ocean Springs attended the event as part of their curriculum to learn about the Pearl River ecosystem and nature.

Head of school and teacher Leah Bray said the event was a great educational experience for her students.

“The Crosby Arboretum is a beautiful property and great asset to South Mississippi and we are happy to have the students learn more about the habitats,” Bray said.

At the event, staff from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service exhibited a variety of replica skulls depicting native wildlife.

Refuge Ranger Diane Barth said children were asked to match the skulls with images of the wildlife and aimed to improve the student’s observation skills and attention to detail, Barth said.

The event featured a presentation about Mississippi snakes by herpetologist Terry Vandeventer. He has been providing educational programs to schools, libraries, wildlife shows and safety programs for wildlife companies for 42 years.

Vandeventer said Mississippi has 56 kinds of snakes, of which six are venomous.

“Across the world there are 3,500 different kinds of snakes and if you learn about that you will learn that they are colorful and elegant,” Vandeventer said.