PICAYUNE — Have you been wondering why your car’s rearview mirror has developed a strange, Jackson Pollock-like pattern? Have you having a bit of trouble seeing clearly out your car window, and wondering if your neighbor’s dog could have been licking your window with a clay-covered tongue? Last week, several of the vehicles parked at the Crosby Arboretum Visitor Center had – shall we say – some visitors. Perhaps you’ve even caught a glimpse of our culprit, his bright red feathers frantically dashing against mirrored glass. Now, what could that cardinal be doing? We know that spring is on its way, evidenced by the recent behavior of these male cardinals, defending their territory by attacking that pesky male cardinal in the mirror. The problem is, he just won’t go away! Although the bird’s dance may provoke a laugh or two, when you later find yourself later faced with the cold facts of having to remove copious amounts of the bird’s “calling card” from your card door, not to mention the “modern art” on your rearview mirror, well, these sights are not for those with a weak temperament. If your yard lacks a cavorting cardinal, you can watch such capers on your favorite Internet video site. I’m considering duct-taping two plastic owls to my rearview mirrors (to prevent them from flying off while on the move). Or perhaps to institute a more cost-effective solution, such as a couple of plastic shopping bags and some rubber bands. Cloudy mirrors are just one of the “signs of wildlife” that children can keep a watchful eye out for. Last week’s Wildlife Day brought many exhibitors out to the Arboretum for a fun-filled school field trip day. Students had the opportunity to learn about Mississippi wildlife from experts in their fields–critter identification, what they eat, and where they live. We’ve been hearing news of increasing bird activity in our area. Arboretum volunteer Tom Heim reported that immediately after putting up his bluebird house, he had bluebirds move in. Tom has built some exquisite cedar bluebird houses for our Arboretum gift shop. Judging from the many features they have, including customized squirrel-proofing, it’s not hard to imagine why they are in such high demand! Tom performed thorough research to learn about when and where to locate his birdhouses. The “when” is now, because bluebirds are establishing their territories and breeding will begin soon. The “where” is to mount them on a fencepost or pole with the bottom of the box about three to six feet from ground level, facing an open field with a distant tree (for baby birds to practice flying to), and away from the direction of prevailing winds. To allow for adequate territory, locate the houses at least 300 feet apart. Finally, installing a predator guard on the pole will help to deter critters such as snakes and raccoons. Tom also mentioned that he has been going through quite a bit of sunflower seed this winter. He puts out black oil sunflower seed, which is higher in oil and meat than the typical striped seeds. Many species of birds prefer the black oil type of seed, which draws a wide variety of birds. A platform-type feeder is one way to make sunflower seed easily available. We have several at our Visitor Center that are as simple as it gets - a post with a board nailed on top. Adding a low side will keep the seed from being scattered to the ground. A final touch would be a roof to help to keep the seed dry. Last week, I enjoyed a visit to a friend’s residential garden that was alive with bird activity. This house was located adjacent to open fields on two sides. However, the beds surrounding the home were generous and wide, filled with a wonderful mix of native and ornamental plants. Even in the late winter, it was a happy and active garden, with birds swooping constantly through the beds. Vegetative edges adjacent to open areas like this are where birds thoroughly enjoy being, as they provide them with protection, food sources, and places to perch. Including plants with a variety of heights - planting in “layers” - in your garden beds will increase habitat opportunities, and attracting more species of wildlife. My friend’s garden layout reminded me of a figure in the MSU Extension publication 2402 on “Mississippi Recreational Gardens: Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat”, which illustrates how you can design your yard for wildlife, and planning for areas that will provide the basic needs of wildlife: food, water, and shelter. This document includes many informative lists of plants that will attract birds and other wildlife. Native trees for attracting birds include black gum, live oak, slash pine, southern magnolia, sweet gum, black cherry, cherry laurel, southern crabapple, parsley hawthorn, native fringe tree (Grancy graybeard), hollies, persimmon, sassafras, and sweetbay magnolia. Native shrubs include American beautyberry, arrow-wood Viburnum, blueberries, elderberry, and red buckeye. Vines and perennials include blackberry, coral honeysuckle, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, and firebush. Many trees and shrubs that are favored by local wildlife will be offered at our upcoming spring plant sale, to be held March 22 and 23 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plant professionals will be available at the sale to help you choose the right plants for your own unique site conditions, in addition to informational handouts A plant list of species that will be at the sale will be available on the Arboretum’s website the week of the sale. Admission to the site will be free that day, so bring a friend along and explore the wonders of our Arboretum.. Call the Arboretum office at 601-799-2311 for more information, or visit www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu. 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: Visit the Mississippi State University Extension Service website to research Mississippi native plants you may wish to include in your home landscape with a high wildlife value, such as publication 2334, “Native Shrubs for Mississippi Landscapes” and 2330, “Native Trees for Mississippi Landscapes.”
- 2013 Partners for Pearl River County By Jodi Marze The 10th class of Partners for Pearl River County celebrated its graduation at First Baptist Church on Friday, May 10, in the Fellowship Hall. The graduating class included: Jason Bounds, Nacole Dillon, Christy Goss, John Huck, Jeff McClain, Teenia Perry, Paul Reese, Brooke Rester, Eric Stafne, Richelle Stafne, Kristin Thibodeaux, Pat Tidmore, and Jim Walker. The staff is comprised of: Jo Woods, Tricia Knight, Shirley Wiltshire, Marilyn Bailey, Rod Lincoln and Scott Langlois (Program Chairman).
Tami Harris takes state
Local business owner and community volunteer Tami Harris has won the coveted title of 2012 Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs-Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs (MFWC) Club Woman of the Year for the state of Mississippi. A member of the Civic Woman’s Club of Picayune, Harris is one of only three club members, along with Darlene Adams and Leslie Lincoln, to take the state title.
Last week, students participating in the 2013 Mississippi Master Naturalist Program visited the Crosby Arboretum for an all-day training. The session was part of 40 hours of field and classroom instruction they will receive, educating them about natural resource management and environmental stewardship, and is a part of their preparation to become Certified Mississippi Master Naturalists.
- Chamber Ribbon Cutting Children's International Medical Group held a grand opening and Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at their first Mississippi location, located in Picayune.
Historic City Hall Dedication Friday
Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m. the New City Hall will be dedicated on Goodyear Boulevard. This event will coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Old Historic City Hall building.
- PRC Community Band presents: An American Legacy The Pearl River County Community Band, under the direction of Johnny Baker, will present “An American Legacy: An afternoon of American music for concert bands,” on Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. at the Picayune Memorial High School Auditorium.
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.
Beebe returns to Main Street
“I was excited when the Picayune Main Street, Inc. Board of Directors asked me to return as manager to the local Main Street program. Also, extremely grateful to Picayune City Manager Jim Luke, Mayor Ed Pinero and city council for their blessings and approval to relocate our office,” says Beebe. “One of my favorite sayings is ‘There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.’ I have to say, I had a blast working on committees, projects and events with the most dedicated staff and group of volunteers in Pearl River County from March 2005 to May 2010. I look forward to getting new committees in place and working with ‘seasoned’ volunteers as well as new volunteers who share the same passion and desire to keep Picayune moving forward.”
15th Annual Rotary Fishing Rodeo held in McNeill
“We are all fortunate to play a small part in the joy we see in their faces when they get a bite on their line and see the fish they catch. My wife, Sharon, and I hosted it last year on our anniversary and we would not have had it any other way. It was a perfect day.”
— Rotarian Tony Paternostro
Picayune Main Street relocates to Intermodal
Picayune Main Street, Inc. has relocated to the Intermodal Transportation and Tourism Center at 200 Hwy 11 South. With the change in location the organization is also shifting focus back to the four points of the Main Street Approach according to President Bill Edwards.
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