Arbor Day in Ocean Springs – Nothing Stands in Our Way

Giving trees away is serious business during Arbor Day season in coastal Mississippi. February weather can be quite nice, or not so much. And so it was that the intrepid Ocean Spring Arbor Day team did not let a cold, blustery winter day deter them from their appointed task! (with due respect to the U.S. Postal Service motto).

Cars were lined up 30 minutes before start time as organizers arranged the bundles of plants on tables and oriented the Boy Scouts that showed up to help. This drive-through, COVID-style event went smoothly as each car was shown a list of available plants and asked to choose which two kinds of plants they wanted to take home. The “tree-pickers” assigned to each bundle went to work, pulling each order that was then carefully wrapped in newsprint and placed in a bag with information on how to plant and care for their trees.

Special thanks to the Scouts of Troop 228 of Vancleave, including Wesley Virgil, Andrew Sullivan, Graham Murphy and Dylan McClure, assisted by Scout helper Reid Bowden. Leaders Lethel Bowden, Avery Higginbotham and parents Abby Virgil, Jeffrey Thompson and Nicole McClure were also quite helpful throughout the event. “The City of Ocean Springs was happy to celebrate Arbor Day by offering free trees to our citizens. These gifts of trees were made possible through generous donations by the Mississippi Forestry Commission and Singing River Electric Cooperative. We also appreciate the partnerships of the Ocean Springs Environmental Committee and Fulghum’s Inc., as well as the hands-on help of the Boy Scouts and their parents.” Darrell Stringfellow, Ocean Springs Building Official.

Members of the Ocean Springs Environmental Committee were also on hand, and along with Ben Carson of Fulgham’s, provided tips on selections and advice on planting. “The Environmental Committee was very pleased to partner with the city to sponsor the Arbor Day tree giveaway. It was inspiring to see a steady stream of citizens come by to select their favorite trees. We look forward to seeing these trees enhance our tree canopy, provide shade, and substantially add to our quality of life.” Nancy Wilson, Chair Ocean Springs Environmental Committee.

Kudos to all of the Arbor Day events held across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Our trees are important to us and it shows this time of year – and rain nor cold will deter our determination.

Happy Arbor Day!

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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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