Conservation group gathers to talk issues

HOLLY SPRINGS – The Natural Resource Initiative of North Mississippi works mostly behind the scenes, but what it touches can be as tangible as greenspace or as visible as a documentary movie about barrier islands.
Members discussed the group’s ongoing efforts Tuesday at Wall Doxey State Park.
“We’ve had an enormous number of projects over the years,” said founder Larry Jarrett of Union County. Among them are “green” certification of landowner practices, building trails in public greenspaces, and training business people and local officials in the principles of “green” infrastructure.
“It’s all volunteer; we just pull people together to do good work,” Jarrett said.
One project was the sponsorship of a documentary video, along with several other entities, “Reigning Over Runoff.” The film shows how Coldwater River watershed residents are cutting silt, trash and other pollutants in their river.
Jarrett said the group is applying for a TVA grant that would help small landowners in the Arkabutla, Tallahatchie and Yocona watersheds manage their resources for profit, recreation and environmental benefit.
Some of NRI’s efforts are simply to let people know about the related works of other groups. Members heard Tuesday about the Secretary of State’s Office’s efforts to manage public lands, the Mississippi Geographical Alliance’s promotion of geographic literacy and Oxford Community Garden, among others.
Another effort outlined was “Gaining Ground: Mississippi’s Homegrown Sustainability Conference,” which Mississippi State University will host July 30-Aug. 1.
The conference’s Saturday offerings concentrate on “The Sustainable Table.” Sessions include farmers’ market management, organizing a community garden and a host of small-scale farm and garden enterprises.
On Sunday, participants will choose among field trips to see models of sustainable design and building.
For information on Gaining Ground, log on to www.gaininggroundmississippi.org. For more information on the Natural Resource Initiative, link to www.nrims.org.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal