Audubon Office Will Help Moss Point Promote Ecotourism Industry

Mark LaSalle is intrigued by almost every living thing.

And as the director of the new Mississippi Gulf Coast Audubon Society, LaSalle can now share his love of ecology.

"The Audobon Society's main mission is to connect the community with nature," LaSalle says.

He says there are many ways to do this.

The new Audubon office will work with schools and community groups to promote prude stewardship and environmental understanding.

But their main goal is to promote Moss Point's new ecotourism industry.

"Pascagoula River is the biggest jewel in Jackson County because it is huge and as I've said before it's relatively unspoiled,"LaSalle adds.

Because of this, LaSalle says it'll be easy to attract many visitors to the coast.

The hard part will be getting locals to appreciate what they have in their back yard.

The new Audubon director says ecotourism is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Although the Audubon Society doesn't oppose area development, LaSalle says he will work with local industries to make sure their businesses aren't lessening the profitability of our natural resources.

"It is not a pro and anti development issue at all,"LaSalle says," It's how do we develop the coast to balance that desire to promote ecotourism and yet protect the very resource."

by Jaimee Goad