Gulf Coast Community Design Studio partners with Boys and Girls Club

August 15th, 2017 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio partners with Boys and Girls Club

Elizabeth Englebretson of the MSU Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and members of the Boys & Girls Club’s Hancock County Unit look on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, at a model of the Magnolia Bayou watershed they made on display in Bay St. Louis. (credit: John Fitzhugh

Via Jeff Clark | Sun

What hidden Hancock County gem inspired the work of these 60 Coast kids?

A “hidden watershed in Bay St. Louis” is getting a lot of exposure thanks to a partnership between Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and the Hancock County Boys & Girls Club. The project was a summer-long STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education program.

The Magnolia Bayou Watershed in Bay St. Louis was the subject of a multimedia art exhibition that included the activation of a storefront at 122 Blaize Ave. in the Depot District. Some of the participants in the educational program drew sketches of wildlife on the watershed and built a 3D model of the ecosystem. The exhibit opened to the public Friday.

The exhibit also featured a 5-minute documentary, “Magnolia Bayou: Bay St. Louis’ Hidden Watershed,” which documents what the students learned about the watershed.

It was written and directed by Steve Barney of the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center . It contains video footage of Magnolia Bayou as well as still photography of the watershed.

“We had 60 about kids ranging in age from 9 to 14, and we were able to work with them several times, and we were able to get really in depth, especially with the artwork,” Blarney said. “The activities started at the beginning of the summer and around the last week in July, we started working with the kids intensively on the art work to culminate everything we learned this summer.”

 Blarney said the project was was designed to to hit three educational targets.

“We had three objectives, which was to have an outstanding learning outcome for the kids, educate the people of Bay St. Louis about the conservation of the fragile ecosystem and the third objective was to have a model which could be used by other grant recipients across the country,” he said. “I think we hit all of our goals.”

The young filmmaker

The five minute short film, which features the music of former Bay St. Louis resident Pete Fountain, highlights the 772 acres of streams known collectively as Magnolia Bayou Watershed. It enters the Bay of St. Louis at the Bay Waveland Yacht Club. The documentary creates the hypothesis that the estuary is shrinking because of commercial development in Hancock County.

Nick Bearden, 15, of Pass Christian, said he has been involved with film making and video editing sine he was nine. Nick did the drone shots, videography and editing for the documentary.

“I’m self taught,” he said. “I learned a lot by watching and uploading Youtube videos,” Nick said. “I watched a lot of tutorials.”

He said he learned a great deal about the watershed and conservation from working on the project.

“I had never really paid much attention the Bays St. Louis watershed and economic development is impacting this area,” Nick said. “It was very much an eye opener.”

Off the couches and working outside

The art exhibit was the culmination of a summer program where its participants spent several hours outdoors studying the ecosystem, by taking water samples and monitoring the native species of the bayou.

“Every day the bayou is more and more degraded and we have to be the ones that are going to save it,” said Boys & Girls Club member Sabrina Hoyt, 15. “It was a really good leaning experience.”

Devonte Han, 15, said he saw the program as a good way to learn something new.

“I did more of the art on this project,” Devonte said. “ I learned that the bayou is not doing so well because of how people are treating it and we need to treat it better.”

Read more from The Shoefly Magazine and The Sea Coast Echo

Gulf Coast Community Design Studio receives environmental stewardship award

July 31st, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio receives environmental stewardship award

1st Place Civic NonProfit v2 copy

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, a research center at Mississippi State University, was recently honored with a First Place 2015 Gulf Guardian award.  The awards ceremony was held today at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The awards, sponsored by a partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program, are to recognize environmental stewardship in the five Gulf Coast states.

“This is the 13th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Diane Altsman, chief of staff for the Gulf of Mexico Program. “The Gulf of Mexico Program partnership works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts.”

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio – one of two research centers in MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design – received the award in the Civic/Nonprofit category for their Bayou Auguste Restoration project. First place was awarded this year in six other categories to groups also taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. See the full list of 2015 winners.

“Mississippi State University is honored to be recognized for the Bayou August restoration project — one of many of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio’s efforts under David Perkes’ leadership to guard the resources of the Gulf Coast for present and future generations,” said Associate Dean for the College of Architecture, Art and Design Greg G. Hall, Ph.D.

The Bayou Auguste Restoration project implemented a community plan for part of East Biloxi, a historically underserved community devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio’s design team secured multiple grants for the project and led a partnership with the city of Biloxi, the Biloxi Housing Authority, the Biloxi Public School District and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.

Volunteers contributed over 2,800 hours of service to help the team remove debris and repair the bayou’s wetland habitat by constructing a neighborhood wetland park.

The local community and students were also engaged in the project through educational programs that focused on ways to improve the bayou’s important functions of restoring and improving the nursery habitat for fish and shrimp, essential to the local economy; reducing pollution and debris entering the ocean through the integrated bayou and stormwater system; and creating a marshland to contain floodwater from extreme storm events.

The first Gulf Guardian Award winners were recognized in 2000. Each year since, first–, second–, and third–place awards have been given in seven categories: Business, Civic/Non-Profit Organization, Partnerships, Youth/Education, Individual, Government and Bi-National.

Read the story on the Texas Environmental News site.

Read more on MSU’s website.

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