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A Green Makeover at Pelican Landing in Moss Point

The Pelican Landing Conference Center in Moss Point was abuzz on Saturday, January 28 as the Rotary Club of Moss Point and community members warmed up by planting new trees. The chill became an afterthought as shovels clanged, soil turned, and plants were placed in the circular planters across the parking lot.

Sixteen young Pond Cypress trees now sit in the planters that once held live oaks that had long suffered from a lack of space to thrive. Pond Cypress are a good choice for parking lots and will add texture and color to this portion of the site – enhancing the initial experiences of visitors. A goal of this project for the Rotary Club of Moss Point was to demonstrate this solution, but also to use it as an opportunity to promote greater attention to valuing trees in parking lots and giving them the space they need to thrive.

This event also provided an opportunity to demonstrate the proper way to plant trees. Planting day is the most important day in the life of a tree, according to arborist David Minkler. Digging a proper hole and treating the root ball of a tree that has grown in a pot are key to ensuring the continued growth of a healthy plant. For the Rotarians, elected officials, Girl Scouts (Troop 4945), and other children that came to help, this lesson will hopefully inspire them to value trees, young and old, as important elements of their community.

This event was the first in a long-term campaign to promote, plant, and protect the beautiful and iconic trees that make Moss Point a beautiful community. The Rotary Club’s Tree Canopy Project will also feature demonstrations on measuring and registering large trees and planting new canopy trees across the city.

“Moss Point has some beautiful old trees that say a lot about who we are and what we value as a community. Rotary members were proud to join with city officials and add to the landscape by planting trees that should be around for generations to come. And we had a great time doing it even though it was such a cold morning with windchill in the mid-twenties. But we had a great turnout and had the trees planted and watered in no time. It was especially good to see our club members Mayor Billy Knight and Judge Terrence Packer along with friends District-2 Supervisor Ennit Morris and Alderman David Chapman. To top it all off, two bald eagles cruised over just as we were finishing. It was a good day,” Rotary Club President Steve Renfroe said.

“The City of Moss Point is excited about partnering with the Rotary Club around the rehabilitation of the landscaping at Pelican Landing, as a first step toward a long-term celebration of the trees of our great city. Moss Point has so much to offer its citizens and visitors, including some of the most majestic trees found anywhere along the Mississippi coast. Pelican Landing is part of our gateway and we are proud to show it off to the world,” Moss Point Mayor Billy Knight said.

The trees that were planted at Pelican Landing were provided in memorial to Jacquelyn Ann Greenough McDonald by her loving husband, Harry Hoyle McDonald, Sr.

Photos courtesy of Mark LaSalle and Donna Stewart


Written by Mark W. LaSalle, Ph.D.

Mark is a naturalist and wetland ecologist, providing expertise on wetlands, water quality and environmental impacts of humans. He has also developed and conducted a number of environmental education programs and workshops for youth, teachers, realtors, and the general public on a variety of subjects including wetlands, natural history, and environmental landscaping. Mark is a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana (B.S. and M.S. degrees) and Mississippi State University (Ph.D.). Mark is the recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator Award, the Gulf Guardian Award, and the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award.


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