Developing a Gum Swamp Educational Exhibit at the Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension

Author(s): Brzuszek, R.; Schauwecker, T.

The mission of the Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension (located in Picayune, MS) is to preserve, protect, and display plants and their communities in the Pearl River Drainage Basin. The Crosby Arboretum’s nationally award-winning master plan has designated a portion of its facility for the creation of a gum swamp educational exhibit. Gum swamp forests are semi-permanently flooded forests that are predominated in species type and frequency by black gum (Nyssa biflora) and tupelo gum (Nyssa aquatica). As specified in Mississippi’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (MDWF), Bald Cypress/Gum Swamp Forest Communities are considered vulnerable in the state of Mississippi. The proposed gum pond exhibit will address MDWF priorities through the construction and management of the exhibit; as well as providing a public venue for public education and experience for this vulnerable forest type.

The Crosby Arboretum Foundation was awarded a grant to create .5 acres of Arboretum property for a gum pond wetland exhibit. Graduate students in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University utilized a semester-long class project in spring 2010 to research and design the proposed gum pond exhibit. Students conducted a literature search on gum ponds and related wetlands and visited several in situ natural gum swamps in Mississippi. Students recorded environmental data at the natural wetlands to inform the restoration design. Students also conducted an environmental inventory and analysis at the proposed exhibit site that recorded the site’s hydrology patterns, plant species, soils, and other data. A design charrette, or a collaborative session to determine solution to the design problem, was conducted with wetland specialists and landscape architects to develop the preliminary design. This presentation will discuss the method used to develop the exhibit design and will exhibit the drawings for the proposed gum pond. Construction for the exhibit is slated to begin in summer 2010.

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Technical Sessions

Session I Sedimentation
Session II Weather/Climate
Session III Coastal Resources
Session IV Surface Water Management
Session V Wetlands
Session VI Education
Session VII Management/Planning
Session VIII Wetlands
Session IX Delta Groundwater
Session X Nutrients
Session XI Delta Water Resources
Session XII Ports

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