Canadian students help protect our coastal environment - - The News for South Mississippi

Canadian students help protect our coastal environment


Some Canadian students are spending their spring break in Moss Point learning how to take care of the environment. The students from McMaster University are working at the future site of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Alex Duffield is getting her hands dirty rehabilitating the site.

"We heard a lot of great things about the Audubon. We have bird societies in Canada and for the fact that they are moving here and expanding is awesome," Duffield said.

She is joined by more than 50 other Canadian college students who traveled thousands of miles from Ontario.

"The culture is different, for sure; the landscapes are different. The weather, oh my gosh, is definitely different," another student said.  

The job Tuesday involved putting in native plants as part of the landscaping. 

"Native plants are important because they are the start of the food chain, and they attract insects, which feed off of other animals," Audubon official Mozart Dedeaux said. 

"It is about protecting the environment, and if you are not using fertilizers, you don't have to use that, you are minimizing your impact on the environment," Audubon Director Mark LaSalle said.

The students planted everything from Mulberry to Red Oak plants. Audubon officials said they really helped this project blossom. 

"Our goal here, as part of the development of the center, is the development of the Native Plant Botanical Garden. So when people walk in here several years from now, they will be able to see how they can use all these wonderful native plants in landscape," LaSalle said.

The student volunteers have not only developed a better green thumb, but also have new respect for the environment around them. 

"It is something that does a lot for us. If we don't do our part back to it, it is not going to be improved. The environment doesn't leave and doesn't go away. Generations are going to feel the effects after us. So if we don't do our part, it is going to suffer," Duffield said. 

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