College Students Create A New Arboretum

Some local college students are clearing the way to bring the community closer to nature. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has started work on an arboretum at the Perkinston campus.

Right now the arboretum is still in the early stages, but the students have big plans for its future. Most of the plants, soils, and trees they study aren't found on campus. Students say creating their own arboretum, will change that.

"It's gonna prepare you for when you're out there in the world because it's gonna allow you basically get your hands dirty and have experience with a lot of different types of plants, a lot of different types of soils," horticulture student David Rideout said.

It's not much to look at now, but students envision 70 species of trees, plants and shrubs growing here along with a various gardens and ponds. Student Laura Husley came up with the basic design.

"I was really scared at first. I didn't think I was up for the job or that I knew enough to really do it well," Husley said. "I'm very excited about it and I think it will be a great asset to the school and the community."

When the arboretum begins to blossom people will be able to come in and commune with nature perhaps by lounging, here, in the pergola.

"It's a shaded area where vines grow and so of encompass it where wet will have benches and we'll have a table and it will be like a little secret place where you can get away," instructor Don Antie said.

Although Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has received some grants for the arboretum, Antie says more help is needed to make it a reality. Not only does the Horticulture program need money but also donations of plants, trees, bricks, or soil.

For more information or to help, call 601-928-6216.