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Extension Outdoors

April 18, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Kermit the Frog hopped into stardom from the Mississippi Delta town of Leland. His real-world “relatives” are waking with spring rains and warmer weather, but there are not as many amphibians as there were when Kermit was a tadpole.

A man in a reflective vest leans over holding a bale of pine straw in one hand while using the other hand to spread pine straw on the ground.
April 12, 2019 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forest Economics

Times are tough for pine tree producers. Sawtimber prices have declined sharply over the past decade, while supplies have steadily increased -- an unfortunate scenario that has left many landowners looking for alternative sources of income.

Seven people with garden shovels add grassy plants to a shoreline with large concrete bricks forming a long narrow formation in the water just off the shore.
April 5, 2019 - Filed Under: Environment, Marine Resources

Mississippi residents who live near the water often consider ways to protect shorelines from erosion. Construction of living shorelines is a popular technique, but it can be hard to find qualified contractors to build these structures.

Small pile containing a rubber glove, an empty plastic bottle and two aluminum cans on wet sand.
March 29, 2019 - Filed Under: Environment

Marine debris is a growing problem, but the solution is staring at us in the mirror.

Man holding a clipboard looks at camera while standing in a wooded area beside a tree with orange ribbons tied around the trunk at shoulder height.
March 22, 2019 - Filed Under: Urban and Community Forestry

American sycamores can grow to be large and stately with mottled bark of white and green and huge, shallow-lobed leaves. Their wood has a number of uses, including furniture, boxes, crates, paper and butcher blocks (because of its hardness). Sycamores are also widely used as ornamental trees throughout the East, South and Midwest.

A man in a conservation officer uniform stands looking down at a large bird held under his arm.
March 15, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Mississippi turkey hunters should reflect on the wild turkey's history in our great state and never take this majestic bird for granted. Historically, Mississippi's landscape was rich with wild turkeys. Writings from early explorers, and naturalists who came later, suggest turkeys were plentiful throughout much of the state. However, by the early 1900s, Mississippi's wild turkey population was in serious decline.

Man wearing hardhat and gloves walks across a stand of pine trees with a handheld torch pipe igniting pine straw on the ground. Background includes lines of low flames, greenery and smoke.
March 8, 2019 - Filed Under: Forest Ecology

Few folks may realize that Mississippi forests are adapted to periodic, low-intensity fires.

Regional map of Mississippi and Tennessee counties with cases of chronic wasting disease.
March 1, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A year after chronic wasting disease was found in Mississippi, my deer season was very different than those in the past.

While I still considered management and hunting strategies, I could not escape the disappointment I would feel if the disease we call CWD had progressed to my cherished hunting spots. Luckily, it was not detected where I hunt, but other places in Mississippi did not fare so well.

Two men and a woman, all wearing baseball caps and reflective yellow vests, look at a roadmap spread out on a table in a large, empty, well-lit room.
February 26, 2019 - Filed Under: Disaster Response

The tornado in Lowndes County and widespread flooding in north Mississippi have triggered a variety of helpful “boots on the ground” to provide needed care and guidance.

A close-up picture of a cluster of white flowers, which individually have five petals on light-green stems. Other clusters on the tree are out of focus in the background.
February 22, 2019 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Under constant, ideal conditions, Bradford pear trees could provide a quarter century of beauty. Unfortunately, the weather will never cooperate to protect these vulnerable ornamental trees for an extended time.

A harvested field spans out with trees lining the right edge and far side on a sunny day.
February 15, 2019 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries, Water Quality

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In past decades, researchers have revealed many connections between water bodies and adjacent landscapes. Much attention has been given to how soil, water, nutrients, pollutants -- and energy, in general -- move from land to nearby water bodies in runoff.

A mature turkey walks to the right through low grass as it examines the ground on a sunny day.
February 8, 2019 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Each spring, wild turkeys -- the largest gamebirds in the state -- begin their annual mating rituals and behaviors. The season attracts thousands of hunters into Mississippi woods for hunting opportunities every year.

Ice covers a large pond with trees on the far side.
February 1, 2019 - Filed Under: Natural Resources, Fisheries

Weather in late-winter Mississippi is always a rollercoaster, with cold snaps followed by spring-like reprieves followed by more cold snaps.

Occasionally, the temperature dips low enough to freeze pond surfaces, but a week later, the bass are shallow and biting. Every few years, we get a deep freeze in the single digits for several days, and most tranquil water bodies freeze over. The ice can be an inch deep or thicker and persist for several weeks. Many of us ill-prepared Southerners worry about the impact on our fish

Rows of evenly spaced, young trees with brown leaves on the ground.
January 25, 2019 - Filed Under: Forest Ecology, Forest Management

Many landowners want to make changes in Conservation Reserve Program hardwood plantations because of declining populations of game animals, especially deer.

One gloved hand holds a reddish fish on a table while an ungloved hand holds a small tool just used to insert a dart slightly below the top fin. A small photo inserted over part of the main photo shows a close-up view of a small, spear-like rod with a white point on one end and black writing on the yellow portion.
January 18, 2019 - Filed Under: Fisheries, Marine Resources

BILOXI, Miss.-- The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery is economically and culturally important, but it is also very controversial. Fishing pressure during the past century led to the decline of Gulf red snapper.

Today, anglers see more red snapper than in previous years, so they believe the population is healthy again. However, managers with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries claim that the population is not yet healthy because it does not contain enough reproductively active females.

Fresh, dark soil with a large earthworm in the middle.
January 11, 2019 - Filed Under: Farming, Environment

Words like sustainability can become buzzwords and are often misunderstood or misused, but despite its widespread use, this term isn’t going anywhere.

A single-lane dirt road runs through a green forest with a slightly raised dirt structure running across from one side to the other and another similar diversion several yards further up the road.
January 4, 2019 - Filed Under: Beginning Forestry

Many forest landowners wonder if best management practices really matter on their property, and the simple answer is yes. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/John Auel)

Four deer graze in tall, lush clover with thinned pines in the background.
December 28, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer

Many hunters and landowners plant wildlife food plots these days, but this practice has become common only during the last 30 to 40 years in the Southeast.

Aerial view of fields with a tree-lined creek running through the middle.
December 21, 2018 - Filed Under: Forest Management, Beginning Forestry

Streamside management zones have become critical tools forestry landowners and professionals use for protecting water quality during and after timber harvests.

A large field with tree seedlings growing in the middle of a long row void of other plants. Adjacent rows are full of grasses and weeds.
December 14, 2018 - Filed Under: Beginning Forestry

Growth and survival of planted hardwood seedlings are not guaranteed, and forest managers may need to learn more about establishment methods to avoid failed plantings. 

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