What’s New in Extension

Two children kayaking on the water.

Coastal Kayaking Club Hooks Jackson County 4-H’ers

By Kim Gowdy • Photo by Kevin Hudson

When the Mississippi State University Extension Service started organizing 4-H Kayaking Clubs, Kim Gowdy, Extension agent in Jackson County, was convinced it would be a great fit for local youth. She had never kayaked before, so Gowdy knew she needed help to get the program started.

Local organizations, including Pascagoula Audubon Center, Pascagoula Paradise Paddlers, and the City of Pascagoula, responded. These new partnerships provided 4-H’ers with meeting space and free equipment, and the Pascagoula Paradise Paddlers became certified 4-H volunteers.

The Jackson County “Otters” 4-H Kayaking Club was the second chartered 4-H Kayaking Club in the state, and it is the only one on the Coast. Junior and senior 4-H’ers, meeting monthly, kayak in the Pascagoula River Marsh Delta and the creeks of Escatawpa and learn the basics of kayaking, water safety, and conservation. Like Gowdy, many of them had never kayaked before—but now, they are all hooked.


A man standing with a plaque that lists “Seven Seals Award” on it.

MSU Department Head Honored With Seven Seals Award

By Trey Barrett • Photo by Kevin Hudson

The leader of Mississippi State University’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture is being honored with the national Seven Seals Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Department head Dr. Andrew Kouba, a Dale Arner Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and director of MSU’s Center for Human-Wildlife Conflicts, was selected for his commitment to supporting employee members of the Mississippi National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserves.

ESGR is a U.S. Department of Defense program promoting cooperation between civilians and reserve component service members. Through the Seven Seals Award, the program recognizes individuals’ significant achievements, acts, or support that promote the ESGR mission to develop supportive work environments for service members.

The award is presented at the discretion of the state chair or by ESGR senior leadership.


2023 Seed and Ag Tech Short Course Hosts Grain Bin Safety Training

Compiled by Leah Barbour • Photo by Michaela Parker

Whether it’s crop consultants, producers, or seed and agricultural industry professionals, knowing what to do when a person gets caught in a grain bin can save that person’s life.

The 2023 MSU Seed and Agricultural Technology Short Course hosted a grain bin safety demonstration in August. The 2-day course, hosted at Mississippi State University on day 1 and at East Mississippi Community College on day 2, hosted a range of audiences.

From first responders to farmers to MSU faculty, audiences at the short course participated in hands-on training to learn what to do when the unexpected happens in a grain bin. Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with the MSU Extension Service, hosted the training.

Extension also worked with Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station faculty to present the short course, which, along with the grain bin safety training, focused on seed laws, seed treatments, and regulatory issues.


Avery Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

By Laura Hough Smith • Photo by Kevin Hudson

A Mississippi State University Extension professor received the U.S. Aquaculture Society’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the aquaculture industry.

Dr. Jimmy Avery, an Extension professor in the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center at the Delta Research and Extension Center and director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Southern Regional Aquaculture Center, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2023.

The U.S. Aquaculture Society is a chapter of the World Aquaculture Society. These organizations provide forums for the exchange of timely information among aquaculture researchers, students, and industry members. The award recognizes a longtime commitment of service to aquaculture that is deemed highly significant and enduring.

Avery’s commitment to the societies spans decades. He is a past president of both organizations, serves on the U.S. Aquaculture Society elections committee and past presidents committee, and has served on the awards and publications committees.

Click here to read the news release.

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