Grant from En­tergy Mis­sis­sippi to be help­ful

Starkville Daily News - - YOUTH BASEBALL OUTDOORS -

In 2016 Wildlife Mis­sis­sippi ac­cepted the do­na­tion of what is now the Fan­nye Cook Nat­u­ral Area from the Mis­sis­sippi Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

A re­cent $150,000 grant from En­tergy Mis­sis­sippi will help fund trails, wildlife­view­ing ar­eas, a park­ing area, a pav­il­ion, and other ameni­ties at the Fan­nye Cook Nat­u­ral Area in Flowood. The grant will lever­age ad­di­tional fund­ing from the Mis­sis­sippi Depart­ment of Wildlife, Fish­eries, and Parks, the Federal High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and other sources.

The nat­u­ral area covers 2,700 acres, which is three times the size of New York City’s Cen­tral Park, along Pearl River. More than 800,000 peo­ple live within 60 miles of the site, which stretches from near Air­port Road in Flowood north to near the Ross Bar­nett Reser­voir spill­way.

The Fan­nye Cook Nat­u­ral Area is owned and man­aged by Wildlife Mis­sis­sippi. The site the now is op­er­ated as a wet­land mit­i­ga­tion area, al­low­ing the Mis­sis­sippi Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to com­pen­sate for wet­lands dis­turbed dur­ing road and bridge con­struc­tion. Wildlife Mis­sis­sippi is also work­ing to de­velop pub­lic ac­cess to the site, much of which is forested, to al­low for con­ser­va­tion ed­u­ca­tion and out­door re­cre­ation such as walk­ing; bik­ing; bird watch­ing; pad­dling; fish­ing; hunt­ing for kids, the ter­mi­nally ill, and wounded vet­er­ans; and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

En­tergy Mis­sis­sippi and Wildlife Mis­sis­sippi have a sim­i­lar goal, which is to im­prove the qual­ity of life for those who live, work, and raise fam­i­lies in Mis­sis­sippi. They fo­cus their ef­forts on im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and on ed­u­ca­tion. En­tergy be­lieves that hav­ing a nat­u­ral re­cre­ation area like this also makes Cen­tral Mis­sis­sippi more liv­able and at­trac­tive for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. They also be­lieve that com­mu­ni­ties that build and main­tain sus­tain­able green spa­ces are more likely to at­tract young la­bor, and so do we. All of this makes for a great part­ner­ship.

En­tergy’s sup­port moves us closer to our goal of pro­vid­ing an ur­ban oa­sis where peo­ple can ex­pe­ri­ence and en­joy the nat­u­ral world in the mid­dle of Mis­sis­sippi’s largest met­ro­pol­i­tan area. Through con­ser­va­tion ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, this site will also help us demon­strate the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing wa­ter and air qual­ity, pro­vid­ing wildlife habi­tat, and manag­ing our nat­u­ral re­sources in sus­tain­able ways.

We thank En­tergy Mis­sis­sippi for its gen­er­ous sup­port of the Fan­nye Cook Nat­u­ral Area. This gift demon­strates the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to op­er­at­ing in an en­vi­ron­men­tally, so­cially, and eco­nom­i­cally sus­tain­able man­ner, as noted in En­tergy’s vi­sion state­ment, and its com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing ed­u­ca­tion. We’d like to think that a good many of En­tergy Mis­sis­sippi’s 445,000 cus­tomers value the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing and pre­serv­ing Mis­sis­sippi’s nat­u­ral riches, such as this spe­cial area.

James L. Cum­mins is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Wildlife Mis­sis­sippi, a non-profit, con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion founded to con­serve, re­store and en­hance fish, wildlife and plant re­sources through­out Mis­sis­sippi. Their web­site is www.wildlife­miss.org. The opin­ions in this col­umn are Cum­mins’ and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of The Starkville Daily News or its staff.

Cum­mins

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