National Heritage Areas of Mississippi host Collaboration Clinic

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Collaboration Clinic participants from Mississippi and across the country engage in a team visioning exercise at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

 

Three National Heritage Areas – Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Hills and Mississippi Gulf Coast – held a Collaboration Clinic recently at the Biloxi Visitors Center. The workshop was facilitated by the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.

“Collaboration Clinics are a proposed model for helping NPS staff, stakeholders and partners develop more effective skills for collaboration,” said Elizabeth Smith-Incer, Mississippi Field Office director for the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program. “Planners, superintendents and other decision makers need this kind of training to engage communities as we make decisions about the resources we preserve and protect.”

This is the first Collaboration Clinic held in the Southeast region and the first hosted by a group of National Heritage Areas. Since 2014, the clinics have been offered over a dozen times in parks and sites across the country, including New York City, Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada, New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in Massachusetts and Zion National Park in Utah.

“We were honored to host this first clinic,” said Rhonda Price, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast NHA. “I think collaboration and partnerships are keys to a successful NHA. We are excited to start working together on joint projects like the NPS/NHA passport program.”

Staff and board members from the three NHAs attended along with representatives from Visit Mississippi and the Department of Archives & History in Jackson. Out-of-state attendees included representatives from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the NPS Office of Partnerships & Philanthropic Stewardship based in Washington, D.C.

“In order for National Heritage Areas to thrive, collaboration is vital,” said Mary Cates Williams, executive director of Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. “I was very thankful to the National park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program for facilitating this workshop and allowing Mississippi’s three NHAs to discuss ways to expand and grow our programs. I can speak for all of us when I say that we are grateful to have the support of not only the National Park Service but our Mississippi congressional delegation as well.”

Collaboration Clinic participants learn about bird tourism at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

Collaboration Clinic participants learn about bird tourism at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.

The workshop included discussions and exercises on a range of topics, including achieving results through collaboration, improving communication and managing conflict.

The group also heard presentations from Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, which serves as the management entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The presentations were about the passport program and the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership.

“We discussed developing a statewide Passport to Your National Parks map and other cooperative marketing strategies to promote tourism to our areas,” said Herts. “We also learned about bird tourism partnership opportunities at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. This was a very productive workshop that will help all of us work together to better serve Delta, Hills and Gulf Coast residents and visitors.”

Learn more about the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning.

Okra Patch participants mentor Cleveland students

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The Okra Patch, under the direction of Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Vernell Bennett, continues its efforts to bridge relationships with Delta State students and Cleveland School District students.

The Okra Patch is guided by several key components, including: increased student engagement, community service/regional stewardship, and mentorship within the Cleveland schools, known as Okra Patch Cleveland Public Schools.

During the spring of 2017, 55 students volunteered for hundreds of hours in Cleveland’s public schools.

“It’s important to invest in and support the community that provides so much support to Delta State,” said Bennett. “It’s also important to make students aware of the significance of service and having a social conscience. Okra Patch Cleveland Public Schools is a wonderful way to create pipelines for recruitment while performing community outreach. The response from Cleveland schools has been overwhelmingly positive.”

After wrapping up its first year in the district, five Okra Patch participants from Delta State were recognized for their mentorship at schools. The Volunteer of the Year honorees were:

– East Side High School: Johnna Ladd and Octavia Kirkland
– D.M. Smith Middle School: Alandria Ramsey
– Pearman Elementary: Anna Mammedova and Nicholas Proctor

“This was a very positive experience for both our students and those in the public school system,” added Bennett.

Okra Patch members are also required to participate in all of the organization’s community service projects. Projects for the spring included partnering with Bolivar County Disaster Relief to assist in the rebuilding and repairing of flood damaged homes in Bolivar County and a beautification project with the Cleveland Park Commission.

Next semester, the Okra Patch will be working with Habitat for Humanity.

To join the Okra Patch, and for more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/student-life/okra-patch.

Secretary Perdue to keynote 82nd Delta Council

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Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (right) meets with U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi before his confirmation.

 

Delta Council President Harry Simmons, of Yazoo City, announced today that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue will be the featured guest and keynote speaker for the 82nd annual meeting of Delta Council, to be held on the Delta State University campus at 10:30 a.m on June 9 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

“We are so pleased that agriculture’s friend from Georgia, Sonny Perdue, will be the featured speaker for this year’s Delta Council annual meeting,” said Simmons, an aquaculture and row crop farmer and catfish processor. “Secretary Perdue has an impressive background as an agribusiness man and two-term successful governor of Georgia, and we look forward to the opportunity to meet with him and hear his thoughts on the future of America’s agricultural industry.”

Perdue, a native of Perry, Georgia, earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. While still in school, Perdue volunteered to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1974 with the rank of captain. Following a brief tenure as a practicing veterinarian, Perdue started two businesses from the ground up, concentrating in agribusiness and transportation.

His public service began in the 1980s when he served on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board. He then successfully ran for the state senate, becoming majority leader in just four years, followed by his election as president pro tempore.

In January 2003, Perdue was elected to serve as Georgia’s governor and he won reelection by an overwhelming margin in November 2006. As governor, Perdue focused on improving education, providing better access to health care, creating quality jobs for Georgians, and increasing resources for stronger, safer communities. He was appointed by President Trump to be the 31st Secretary of Agriculture and was confirmed in late May by the United States Senate.

In addition to the keynote address by Perdue, Delta Council will honor more than 140 high school seniors as Delta Honor Graduates with the ceremony beginning at 9 a.m., located under the tent next to the BPAC. Dignitaries will welcome the graduates, their families and school officials to main event and present them with engraved certificates recognizing them as 2017 Honor Graduates. The top Honor Graduate will be selected by higher education officials and be presented a $2,500 scholarship during the 10:30 a.m. business session.

“The Delta Honor Graduate event is designed to raise the level of awareness of parents, teachers and our local communities of the importance of bringing these bright young minds back to the Delta after they have completed their formal and advanced education,” said Cass Pennington of Indianola, who serves as chairman of the Delta Council Education and Health Policy Committee.

The tradition of a fried catfish luncheon will conclude the program for the 82nd annual event on the grounds of the quadrangle on the Delta State campus.

Sponsors for event include: BankPlus; Catfish Farmers of Mississippi; Cotton, Inc.; Sanders, Inc.; Mississippi Corn Promotion Board; Mississippi Rice Promotion Board; Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board; and Southern Ag Credit/Mississippi Land Bank.

Crockett wins scholarship from Sanderson Farms aviation department

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Tristan Shemar Crockett, left, is presented a scholarship from the flight department of Sanderson Farms. Presenting the award was Brett Oleis, instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State.

 

Delta State University Commercial Aviation is pleased to announce the inaugural recipient of a scholarship provided by members of the flight department of Sanderson Farms.

The scholarship came out of a fundraiser held by the corporation’s flight department and was spearheaded by Kevin Blair and Ryan McBride. Both serve as pilots for Sanderson Farms, and McBride is a Delta State flight operations graduate.

Receiving the scholarship was aviation major Tristan Shemar Crockett of Grenada.

“I am extremely grateful to receive this scholarship,” said Crockett, a junior working on his instrument rating. “I would like to thank the Sanderson Farms aviation department for providing the scholarship and Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation for choosing me. These funds will help me continue my flight training into the summer.”

Brett Oleis, instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State, said he was thankful for the longstanding support from organizations in the aviation industry.

“Our graduates go on to make big impacts in the aviation field, both locally and globally,” said Oleis. “We are always appreciative of companies in the industry that give back to our students.”

Learn more about commercial aviation at Delta State at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.

Hit songwriters to make Delta return for DMI benefit

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute Entertainment Industry Studies program at Delta State University will host its second “Writers in the Round” show on May 18 at the Delta Meat Market in downtown Cleveland.

The show will be held at 6 p.m. and will feature three-time GRAMMY® winner Ashley Cleveland, Dove award winner and writer of “Mary, Did You Know?,” Buddy Greene, A-Team Nashville session player Jeff Taylor, and DMI Director Tricia Walker.

The event serves as a fundraiser for DMI scholarships and programming.

“An ‘in the round’ songwriter show features professional songwriters in an intimate circular setting made famous at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee,” said Walker, who was one of the mainstays of the venue during her years as a singer-songwriter in Music City. “It’s a wonderful way to experience the power and emotion of great songs sung by the writers themselves.”

Ashley Cleveland is a GRAMMY and Dove Award winner who has released eight critically acclaimed albums. “God Don’t Never Change” features songs rooted firmly in a host of traditions — black spirituals, folk songs, 18th century hymns, gospel blues and jubilee. The disc was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album.

Buddy Greene has worked with the most celebrated names in the music industry, among them Bill and Gloria Gaither, the late Jerry Reed, and Mark Lowry, with whom he wrote the Christmas classic “Mary, Did You Know?”  The song has been recorded numerous times, including covers by Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, Natalie Cole, Glen Campbell, Kathy Mattea, CeeLo Green, Clay Aiken and Pentatonix. Greene has performed for more than a quarter of a million people in New York’s Central Park and has been a part of Praise Gatherings for more than two decades and toured all over the world.

Jeff Taylor grew up in Batavia, New York, and studied classical piano at the Eastman School of Music. He has lived in Nashville since 1990 and counts among his performing highlights his two years as bandleader at the Ryman Auditorium for the musical production “Always, Patsy Cline,” the Skaggs Family Christmas Tour, and many appearances on the Grand Ole Opry backing numerous artists. He has recorded with Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Harry Connick Jr., Amy Grant, George Strait, Vince Gill and The Chieftains. He was a featured artist on the 2007 GRAMMY-winning Best Bluegrass Album, Ricky Skaggs “Instrumentals”. In addition to excelling on accordion and piano, he also shines on the concertina, penny whistle, mandolin and bouzouki.

Seating is limited to 85 seats. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Delta Music Institute office at 662-846-4579 between 8 a.m. and noon Monday-Thursday.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.