Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival Returns to Pass Christian’s War Memorial Park

Contributor: Rachael Thomas
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Updated: 3/26 4:14 pm
Come out and enjoy two free festivals at one time! For a fun and educational event for the whole family, visit the 23rd annual Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival on Saturday, April 5th, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The award-winning Celebrate the Gulf will be held in conjunction with Art in the Pass at War Memorial Park, located on Beach Boulevard in Pass Christian, Miss. Enjoy lively, hands-on exhibits that highlight the benefits of a healthy Gulf of Mexico. Touch tanks, live animals, Raptor Road Show/Birds of Prey, plus fishing rodeo for youth, 12 and under.

“Celebrate the Gulf is an event designed to educate our youth about marine life and the environment,” said Jamie Miller, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “Children are never too young to learn about our coastal resources and how to protect them. This is a great family event, and M.D.M.R. is pleased to be part of it.”

Visit more than 20 Celebrate the Gulf exhibits related to the wise use, preservation or conservation of our valuable aquatic and coastal resources. Children and adults alike will get to experience everything from crawling through the ever-popular “Turtle Hurdle” to visiting a special touch tank full of marine creatures, sponsored by the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. Participants will also participate in many hands-on activities involving native plants, birds and marine life. A special Raptor Road Show presented by the Environmental Studies Center from Mobile, Ala., will also be offered periodically throughout the festival.

“Prizes will be awarded to the schools that send the most students to the Celebrate the Gulf event,” said Jennifer Buchanan, education coordinator for the M.D.M.R.’s Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (N.E.R.R.). “So come on out and have fun while supporting your school.”

As a special treat for our young fishers, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources in association with the Coastal Conservation Association (C.C.A.) of Mississippi and the Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival, will be hosting a FREE junior fishing rodeo on the western side of the Pass Christian Harbor on Saturday, April 5, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. for children 12 and under. Every child who fishes will win a prize. Prizes will be awarded at Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival in Pass Christian’s War Memorial Park after the fishing rodeo. For more information on Celebrate the Gulf and the free junior fishing rodeo, call Jennifer Buchanan at 228-475-7047 or jen.buchanan@dmr.ms.gov.

Sponsors of Celebrate the Gulf include the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Mississippi Power Company, Ingalls Shipbuilding, City of Pass Christian, Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, Gulf of Mexico Program, Coastal Conservation Association of Mississippi, and DuPont.

Our sister festival, Art in the Pass, is taking place on the same site both Saturday and Sunday. Art in the Pass is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year. Attracting a sophisticated, buying public and a talented group of national artists, this juried art festival has grown from a few local artists presenting their works to more than 100 exhibiting artists. The art festival will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 5th and 6th.

Art in the Pass’ Marine Cuisine Pavilion will feature the culinary arts, focusing on Mississippi Gulf Fresh Seafood. Activities will include free cooking demonstrations and tasting samples provided by local chefs and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Seafood Marketing Program.

The Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (N.E.R.R.) is located near the community of Pecan in southeast Jackson County and includes wetlands and waterways from Bang’s Lake to the Alabama state line. A major goal of the Reserve is to provide for research coordination and dissemination of scientific data to the community and local decision-makers to provide sound information on which to base management decisions. Visit the N.E.R.R.’s website at www.grandbaynerr.org.

The 18,000-acre reserve is home to several rare or endangered plant and animal species and serves as an essential nursery habitat for numerous important commercial and recreational fish species. The Reserve is managed through state-federal partnership between the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and its local partners—Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi State University and the Nature Conservancy—and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at www.dmr.ms.gov.

2014 Celebrate the Gulf Exhibitors:

-Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

-Gulf Coast Council Federation of Fly Fishers

-Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (M.D.M.R.):

-M.D.M.R. Invasive Species Program

-M.D.M.R. Seafood Technology Bureau

-M.D.M.R. Marine Patrol

-M.D.M.R./Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

-Mississippi Power’s Renew Our Rivers

-Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (M.D.E.Q.) Coastal Basin Team

-Adopt-A-Stream Mississippi-Mississippi Wildlife Federation/M.D.E.Q.

-N.O.A.A. Fisheries

-Wolf River Conservation Society

-Gulf of Mexico Program - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

-Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

-The Nature Conservancy

-Pass Christian Public Library

-Dauphin Island Sea Lab

-Mississippi Coast Audubon

-McCoy’s River and Marsh Tours

-Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

-City of Pass Christian Code Enforcement Office

-M.D.M.R. Lyman Fish Hatchery and University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

-Northern Gulf Institute

-Wildlife Care & Rescue Center, Inc.
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