Biology students visit the Big River Road Landfill

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Students in Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding’s Material and Methods class in environmental science recently visited the Big River Road Landfill in Leland.

The landfill is designated for municipal solid waste products such as cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans, paper, tree branches and more. It has been in operation since the 1980s and consists of over 148 acres.

The landfill receives waste from every county that borders Washington County, including those in Arkansas. Roughly 500-600 pounds of waste is hauled into the landfill daily. The facility is operated by Republic Services, the second largest provider of non-hazardous waste collection in the United States.

Amber Hoffman, a regional environmental manager with Republic Services, presented to the class during its visit. Hoffman explained how durable plastic liners, geotextile mats, clay, sand, gravel, dirt, pipes, leachate ponds and more are incorporated into designing each refuse cell — the standard building block of a sanitary landfill. At the Big River Road landfill, a refuse cell is typically five acres in length and exists for 18-24 months before it is filled up.

Brady Chambley, a senior majoring in environmental science at Delta State, was amazed at the complexity of maintaining a landfill.

“The amount of work it takes to keep up a landfill is surprising, yet very important,” said Chambley.

To learn more about the environmental science program at Delta State, contact Baghai-Riding at or 662-846-4797.

36th F.E. Woodall Spring Conference set for April 21

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The annual F. E. Woodall Spring Conference for the Helping Professions returns to campus for a 36th year on April 21.

The Division of Counselor Education and Psychology will host the all-day conference which provides continuing education for counselors, social workers, psychologists, and other helping professionals from all over the state. The conference also provides needed licensure continuing education credits at a nominal cost.

The conference will have 35 breakout sessions and a Luncheon Keynote Address. Conference sessions cover topics such as cultural competency, trauma counseling, and animal assisted therapy.

“Our conference is held every April and we start work on the next conference in May,” said Cat Vincent, Woodall Conference Coordinator. “Our conference committee and students work very hard year-round to make this event successful.”

The keynote address will be delivered by Christopher Lawrence, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Northern Kentucky University. The address is titled, “Jumping Off the Couch: Perspectives on Preserving your Professional Sanity.” Lawrence is known for his high energy, engaging presentations.

“I saw Dr. Lawrence early in his academic career give one of the most memorable presentations I’ve ever enjoyed,” said George Beals, program coordinator for Counselor Education.

Most breakout sessions are from practitioners and educators in the helping professions. With the guidance of Delta State faculty, counseling practicum and internship students will be presenting in three different sessions in Lightning Talks, a TED talk style of presentation. The students cover the essential elements of their material and provide attendees with applicable, practical information. The topics of the Flash Talks are: Collaboration in Schools, Ethics of Strengthening your Professional Identity, and The Chance and the Choice Challenge: Enhancing Self-Esteem and Self-Reflection.

“The F.E. Woodall Spring Conference for the Helping Professions is an important professional development and networking opportunity for many individuals in the helping professions in the Delta and beyond,” said Sally Zengaro, chair of the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology. “At Delta State, we are proud to be part of such a strong tradition and look forward to bringing together each spring individuals from a variety of backgrounds to attend the valuable and informative sessions.”

See the conference website for more information:

Josh Turner Live in Concert April 27

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Multi-platinum MCA Nashville recording artist Josh Turner is one of country music’s most recognizable hit-makers. He will perform live in concert on Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. The event is locally sponsored by Robinson Electric.

With a rich, deep voice and distinctive style, Turner a disciple of traditional country music and one of the youngest members of the Grand Ole Opry. From his 2003 Platinum-selling debut Long Black Train to his most recent 2012 Billboard No. 1 release Punching Bag, Turner has garnered multiple GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM nominations. Turner’s hits include “Your Man,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “Firecracker,” “Would You Go with Me,” “All Over Me,” and “Time Is Love,” the most played country song of 2012.

Turner recently released his sixth studio album Deep South, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Turner wrote five of the 11 tracks on the well-crafted album and he is impressing fans and critics alike. Rolling Stone declares that Turner, with his “river deep baritone,” delivers an “eagerly-awaited album from a country purist.”

Prior to the show, weather permitting, there will be a picnic-style dinner with live music by Craig Adams in the Sanders Sculpture Garden located in front of the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Levee Break Grill, Nehi Bottling Co. and Sweetwater Bleu’z will have food and beverages available for purchase. Dinner and music in the garden will last from 5:30 – 7:15 p.m., and the Josh Turner concert begins in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to see Josh Turner start at $30 and are available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center Ticket Office, open Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by phone 662-846-4626 or online Tickets to the concert are not required to attend the dinner in the Sculpture Garden; food purchases may be made directly from vendors on-site. For more information on Josh Turner, visit

Students tour Cochran Aquaculture facility

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Students from Delta State University recently toured the Thad Cochran National Warm Water Aquaculture Research Unit in Stoneville.

The tour has become an annual event for students in Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding’s Biology 123 (Foundation in Environmental Science) class.

This year’s tour was led by Daniel Oberle, a fisheries biologist, associated with the USDA-ARS. He showed the students the 300-acre facility and explained how catfish are grown, monitored and processed for distribution.

Thousands of catfish are raised at this environmental site. It takes three to five years for channel catfish to reach maturity, and some of the large catfish at the site were more than 10 years old.

Throughout the tour, Oberle mentioned bacteria and virus infections (including herpesvirus disease) that are common to channel catfish and disease preventative measures. Students also learned about other environmental parameters that the facility uses to raise catfish: water temperature, quality and quantity of food, and breeding success strategies. They also were exposed to agricultural biotechnology and food costs that are required for this industry.

Students were able to see channel catfish, big blue catfish, and hybrid catfish and toured all of the outdoor ponds, handled catfish, and saw them being fed. In addition, students also met some former Delta State University biology and environmental science students who currently work at the facility.

Lahenric Phillips, one of Dr. Baghai-Riding’s students, said what he found most interesting was seeing the process as well as how many catfish occur in one small pond.

Overall, this tour tied well into the topic of agricultural food production that Baghai-Riding’s class had been exploring this semester. Commercial catfish production is a major aquaculture industry in the Mississippi Delta and in recent years there has been a lot of discussion to about the importance of eating locally-grown food.

To learn more about the Environmental Science program at Delta State University, contact Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding ( or call the Department of Biological Sciences @ 662-846-4240.