Ohio State Students Help M.D.M.R. Clean Up Deer Island

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Students from Ohio State University are on the Coast this week helping the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (M.D.M.R.) along with Wildlife and Fisheries clean up Deer Island as part of an alternative winter break program.

Ohio State University students are giving back to our community by cleaning up and cutting nature trails on Deer Island to help attract more activity on the island. Marissa Reinhart, a sophomore, didn’t mind picking up trash if it meant others could enjoy the view. Reinhart says, "We’re trying to kind of pick up the island and make a pathway for people to come out and enjoy. You can take a kayak out or whatever you’d like, kind of hike for the day or whatever you please."

The trip is funded by the school’s Buckeye Serve organization that sends students on community service projects all around the country during their school breaks. Adam White, a student at Ohio State, says, "The environmental aspect of it is why I ranked it up as one of my top choices and it’s cool working outside, helping the environment and a new community that I haven’t been a part of before."

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According to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the students’ mission will help preserve the beauty of Deer Island and all it has to offer. Charlie Robertson, a marine fisheries scientist, says, “We want people to be able come out here and go through the trails, pretty much cover the island as much as they can because there a lot of really beautiful landscape views to see."

Many of the students were in New Orleans last week for the Sugar Bowl, watching Ohio State beat Alabama and didn’t know what to expect when crossing the border into Mississippi. Reinhart also says, "I figured it would be quite more built up since Katrina, but yeah, I wasn’t expecting all the casinos definitely and the beach is really nice. I wasn’t expecting such a nice beach, so that is a plus."

White closes, "It’s been awhile since I’ve been down towards the ocean and it was really refreshing because Ohio is getting a lot of snow right now. It’s just cool being in this pristine environment."

On Monday, the students also helped the M.D.M.R. with its oyster reef shoreline protection project. The students will head back to Ohio in two days.