South MS teachers receive nearly $12,000 in grants from Mississippi Power

South MS teachers receive nearly $12,000 in grants from Mississippi Power
Central Elementary (Gulfport) teacher Melanie Davis and members of the Green Team, walk through the school’s garden, which will get a makeover thanks to a Mississippi Power Environmental Education Grant. (Source: Mississippi Power)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Nineteen teachers from across South Mississippi are getting help with their lessons on environmental science thanks to Mississippi Power. This week, the company awarded about $12,000 in grant money to be used for equipment, supplies, and class projects.

"Mississippi Power is pleased that our state’s educators are leading the way by engaging students on the importance of environmental protection and preservation," said Mississippi Power Environmental Affairs Director Mark Loughman. "Teachers inspire their students in the classroom every day, and we hope these grants will assist and encourage a continued commitment to environmental stewardship."

Central Elementary (Gulfport) teacher Melanie Davis and members of the Green Team, walk through the school’s garden, which will get a makeover thanks to a Mississippi Power Environmental Education Grant.
Central Elementary (Gulfport) teacher Melanie Davis and members of the Green Team, walk through the school’s garden, which will get a makeover thanks to a Mississippi Power Environmental Education Grant. (Source: Mississippi Power)

Melanie Davis with Central Elementary School in Gulfport said the grant will help fund the school’s new garden club, called the Green Team. She said there are all kinds of lessons to be learned by gardening, from healthy eating to the important role bees and butterflies play in pollination.

“Gardening helps with everything from patience and teamwork, so we’re really hoping this will cultivate a learning style for them and they will be able to share that with their families and continue it into their adulthood,” Davis said.

Rebekah Reese said the grant money will help Biloxi High School’s Environmental Club increase awareness for the environment among the student body.

“We started a small recycling project last year with paper. This grant will allow us to expand the program school-wide and possibly include plastics as well. The students will be so thrilled to find out their hard work and determination has paid off,” Reese said.

Hawkins Elementary (Hattiesburg) librarian Latisha Taylor works with students in the school’s Memory Garden. Taylor plans to install bird feeders and clean up the area with her Mississippi Power Environmental Education Grant.
Hawkins Elementary (Hattiesburg) librarian Latisha Taylor works with students in the school’s Memory Garden. Taylor plans to install bird feeders and clean up the area with her Mississippi Power Environmental Education Grant. (Source: Mississippi Power)

Latisha Taylor at Hawkins Elementary School in Hattiesburg said the grant money will allow her school to update a special spot where students are able to connect with nature.

“We have a Memory Garden that’s set aside to honor students, parents and teachers that have passed away over the years. It’s a place where students can find peace and tranquility, read a book or just sit outside and relax if they’re having a rough day,” Taylor explained. “We want to clean up the area and add some birdfeeders. The Memory Garden is located next to several floor-to-ceiling windows, so students will be able to observe the birds as they eat.”

This year’s Environmental Education Grant recipients include:

  • Melanie Davis, Gulfport (Central Elementary School)
  • Rebekah Reese, Biloxi (Biloxi High School)
  • Carly Parker, Long Beach (Harper McCaughan Elementary School)
  • Amber Lash-Banks, Ocean Springs (St. Martin High School)
  • Leigh Hanna, Pascagoula (Pascagoula High School)
  • Priscilla Flanagan, Carriere (Pearl River Middle School)
  • Della Morgan, Forrest County (Forrest Co. AHS)
  • Latisha Taylor, Hattiesburg (Hawkins Elementary School)
  • Della Watson, Hattiesburg (Hawkins Elementary School)
  • Dominique Hilton, Hattiesburg (Hawkins Elementary School)
  • LaDisha Moore, Hattiesburg (Woodley Elementary School)
  • Lindsey Iasty, Petal (Petal Middle School)
  • Jaci Housley, Purvis (Purvis Lower Elementary School)
  • Donielle Faler, Sumrall (Sumrall Elementary School)
  • Jodi Cranford, Sumrall (Sumrall Elementary School)
  • Stephanie Stringer, Columbia (Columbia Primary School)
  • Angela Blackwell, Laurel (Maddox Elementary School)
  • Celeste Saucier, Meridian (St. Patrick Elementary School)
  • Beth Lang, Newton (Newton Co. Elementary School)

Mississippi Power began presenting teachers with environmental education grants in 2015. Since the program’s inception, more than $65,000 has been awarded to more than 140 teachers.

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