Grant from Entergy Mississippi to be helpful
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.