Learn new ways to explore the natural world

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

By Patricia R. Drackett, Director and Assistant Extension Professor of Landscape Architecture
The Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension Service

Several excellent opportunities for embarking on some new activities this summer will be offered this Saturday, May 19, at the Crosby Arboretum!  Learn new skills and techniques that will help you to explore, and appreciate, the natural world.

Have you ever wanted to know more about birds and birdwatching? Attend Saturday morning’s program with long-time birder and hummingbird bander James Bell. Some of you may have attended Jim’s hummingbird programs at the Arboretum. In his hour-long introduction, he will help you get up to speed on what you will need to get started in birding. You will learn basic bird identification, places to bird, equipment, books and other resources, and more.

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Saturday afternoon, enjoy a photography workshop with Diana Thornton, who will show you how to get stunning images using the often little-known settings on your phone camera. You will learn how to go beyond just snapping photos and start creating impressive, artistic images. Her presentation will be followed by a photo walk. The program is designed for iPhone 5 or newer, but other camera phones are welcome. Bring your fully charged phone with adequate memory, walking shoes, bug repellent, and notebook. At the end of the afternoon, you’ll have gained some new skills to increase your enjoyment of capturing the beauty of nature and the world that surrounds you.

The Crosby Arboretum, other natural areas, or simply your own back yard or garden can offer endless subjects to photograph. If you are a gardener, you may already know that one secret to making your garden to stand out as memorable is to use plants that will attract wildlife. The constant activity of birds, butterflies, and other pollinators can transform your landscape, and give it so much more pizazz than a typical garden.

If you’d like to create gardens that will be remembered many years later, think about how you can add layers of experiences in your garden area that will engage all the senses. For example, fragrant blooms, the sound of trickling water or wind chimes, or the movement of birds and butterflies can all add to the ability of a garden to establish a lasting memory.

See the Mississippi State University Extension website (http://extension.msstate.edu) to read more about how to attract birds and other wildlife to your yard. From the Publications menu, search for “Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat” (Publication No. 2402). Also, pages 60 through 66 of “Selecting Landscape Plants” (Publication 0666) deal specifically with landscape plants to attract birds and wildlife.

More information on attracting birds is available by searching on the MSU Extension home page for these titles: “Attracting Birds to Mississippi Gardens”, and “Attracting Hummingbirds to Mississippi Gardens”. These resources contain extensive lists of plants with high wildlife value, both native and non-native, making them a valuable reference if you would like your garden to “come alive”!

Call 601-799-2311 to sign up for the program on Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., “Introduction to Birds and Birding” with James Bell. It is best suited to ages 8 and up. Members $3, members’ children $1; non-member adults $5, children $2. The Smart Phone Photography Workshop with Diana Thornton will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. is suited to ages 12 and up. Members $5, non-members $10. Limited to 12 persons.

A children’s program on Native Mississippi Trees will be held Friday, May 24 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Members’ children $4; non-members’ children $6; no charge for adults.

On Saturday, May 25, enjoy “Monarchs, Milkweed and Nectar Plants for the Gulf Coast with

Pearl River County Master Gardener Amy Nichols. Learn about the monarch butterfly life cycle, migration, and plants that support both their larval (caterpillar) and adult stages. Members $3, non-members $5. Reservations requested. Mark your calendar! Many plants that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators can be found at our Pollinator Plant Sale on May 31 and June 1.

Due to the recent rainy weather, we’ve rescheduled our “Music Under the Pines” open mic event on the Pinecote Pavilion to Saturday, May 18 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Enjoy coffee and tea, delicious baked goods, and great local music with your friends and family. Call the Crosby Arboretum office at 601-799-2311 to reserve your seat in the audience.

Call 601-799-2311 to sign up for programs. The Crosby Arboretum is located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune, at I-59 Exit 4, and open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 to 4:30. Leashed pets are welcome.