Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 50 of 83 | 51 used, such as the shakes, which are recycled tires and fire resistant. Solar panels were installed to reduce energy costs, and a gravel parking lot and driveway to minimize storm runoff. Rainwater is collected and used for things like flushing toilets, which helps reduce water consumption by 40 percent. These and other design elements helped the facility earn a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as a green facility. In all, it's about modeling the idea that if people are intentional, they can live in harmony with their environment and both can thrive. The Grand Bay NERR is open to hunting and fishing and observes the same regulations and catch limits as the rest of the state, so hunters and anglers, bird watchers or anyone can freely roam about and take advantage of the resource. There are also a number of education programs where local schools bring kids out for presentations and field trips and even get linked up with researchers doing current field work. It's a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn first-hand and hopefully be inspired and gain a personal investment in the estuary. This kind of connection with the community is a special passion for Dr. Gray. She says that without the NERR, some local residents would not have the opportunity to understand or enjoy the natural resources around them. "I'm an estuarine ecologist. I've studied estuaries my whole career, and my biggest passion is to understand what estuaries do, from offering storm surge protection, acting as fish nurseries and all of those things, but not just from an ecological view but also from a socioeconomic view," she says. " This is a very underserved area, and there are a lot of underemployed. There are a lot of marshes and you need a boat to have access. One thing we'll do is community boat rides. We'll do them in the summer and offer them for free. We get people out to see the estuary, and often there is someone who has never seen it. I always run into people who grew up here, maybe went to Moss Point High School, and never have been on the water. It's great to give them that kind of opportunity." In addition to education programs and community boat rides, a number of other opportunities happen through the year, including artist workshops, a "Star Party" holiday event for stargazing and, of course, National Estuaries Day, which falls in late September. It's a time where visitors are treated to a carnival-like event, called "Seaside with a Scientist," and are given a chance to learn about the NERR and travel out to the marsh to visit with scientists at their various research sites to learn what they are doing. If you live within driving distance, a visit to the Grand Bay NERR is a great way to discover what Coastal Mississippi is really about. Pack your rod, bring your boat or kayak or just come as you are. Either way, you'll discover an amazing natural habitat and meet people who can help you understand it and enjoy it in a whole new way. Or, visit NOAA's website and look for a NERR in your area. Find one and you might become a NERR nerd, too. For more information, visit or For the People Far or NERR | 51

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