Grand Bay Reserve gives survival tips for the South MS swamps

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Imagine if you were boating or hiking and got stranded in woods or marsh, would you know what to do? Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve held a 101 survival class to help people on the coast.

Raccoons and rats are definitely not appetizing meals. But Jennifer Buchanan with Grand Bay Estuarine Research Reserve said you may change your mind if you're starving.

"It is wild food that our ancestors have been eating for years and years," Buchanan said.

Saturday, several inquisitive folks from across the coast were taught several survival and safety tips if they find themselves stranded in the woods or marsh.

"They might be in some situation where their boat capsizes, and they have to spend the night in the marsh. You can get hypothermia in the summer, especially when it rains, and you need to be prepared for that."

Instructor Eric Lacefield agrees. He showed the class plants to stay away from, and others they can find to snack on if stuck outdoors, including Saltwort Plants.

"This to me taste like salty celery," said Lacefield.

Lacefield also encouraged the class to pack an emergency kit with items such as a knife, first aid supplies, water proof matches, as well as, safety flares to signal for help.

"You might consider them expensive, but when they work, how much would you pay not to be in the marsh with the mosquitoes and gnats biting you?"

Grace Scire traveled from Mobile for the safety class and said it was well worth the trip.

"I realized how much I didn't know and how unprepared I have been," Scire said. "People should really think twice about going out on a boat without a survival kit."

Instructors hope the folks here will keep these tips in mind and pass them along to help their friends and family stay alive in dangerous outdoor situations. Grand Bay Reserve also recommends you pack candles, a signal mirror, compass and insect repellent in your emergency kit.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.