Pascagoula hosts nature education day for 300 students - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula hosts nature education day for 300 students

City leaders say they hope to continue to work with students on park improvements. (Photo source: WLOX News) City leaders say they hope to continue to work with students on park improvements. (Photo source: WLOX News)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

On Friday the students worked together on a project that will benefit the park's environment, wildlife, and neighbors in the area.

It was a game in which tennis balls served as pollutants and the students pretended to be trees. The goal was to catch as many "toxic balls" as possible.

"It was fun, because we caught the tennis balls. It shows that a lot of pollution gets into rivers and water sources and it kills water life," said Tyler Smith.

About 300 seventh graders from Colmer Middle School converged at I.G. Levy Park in Pascagoula to learn how they can help restore their watershed. The environmental lessons are part of a $25,000 matching grant awarded to the city of Pascagoula by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Urban Waters Restoration Program.

The city provided the match through volunteer hours and in-kind services, like teaming-up with the Pascagoula River Audubon Center and other agencies to show the students how to improve the habitat quality of the park.

"I.G. Levy is one of our best assets in Pascagoula. We want to educate our children so in the future when they become homeowners, or become business owners and that kind of thing, they can put some of these practices into place," said Pascagoula Parks & Recreation Director Darcie Crew.

Through hands-on lessons, the middle schoolers learned how to create rain gardens, prevent erosion, test the water quality of Whitehead Lake, and replace invasive plants with native species.

"When I came here, I learned there's a lot of things we can do to hurt the environment that I didn't know about," said Baleigh Andrews.

"If you want to be like a farmer or a gardener, if you want to have a garden system, this will help definitely in learning how to plant things properly," said Tyler.

By putting students in a natural environment, they can learn to appreciate the park and help it thrive. The city hopes to work with the school district to continue the park improvements.

 Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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