WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE IN CONSERVATION?
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS) contributes to conservation by promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of Mississippi's biological diversity through collections, research, scientific databases, education, and exhibits.
The Museum of Natural Science accomplishes our conservation objectives by addressing two of the central themes of the MDWFP mission.
I. CONSERVE AND ENHANCE MISSISSIPPI'S WILDLIFE, FISHERIES, AND PARKS
Since our beginning in 1935, Biological Collections have grown to contain more than 1 million specimens, representing the largest single reference for Mississippi's vertebrate animales, freshwater mussels, crayfish, and fossils.
In addition, the MMNS curates important collections of plants, insects, and DNA specimens. These irreplaceable specimens document species diversity, distribution, ecology, conservation status, and natural heritage of Mississippi. They are an essential source of information that is used regularly by resource managers, biologists, and educators.
Research contributes to our knowledge of Mississippi's species and biological communities, which provides an understanding and appreciation of the state's biodiversity. Ecological monitoring and surveys provide a scientific basis for protecting and conserving our state's rarest species.
The Museum-based Natural Heritage Program manages a comprehensive database of Mississippi species, communities, ecosystems, and natural areas of conservation concern. Information contained within this and other Museum databases is regularly used by resource managers and land developers, and provides guidance for species conservation and wise use of our land and water.
II. ENGAGE THE PUBLIC IN NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION
Conservation educators at the Museum provide age-appropriate, hands-on programs to thousands of students on site and in classrooms across the state. All of our programs are carefully coordinated with the school standard curriculum.
Through teacher workshops, we certify more than 1,000 Mississippi educators each year to teach conservation programs such as Project WILD, Project WET, and Growing Up WILD.
We host numerous conservation education events each year, such as NatureFest, Make a Splash, Fun Fridays, interactive Fish Feedings, Snake Day, and Fossil Road Show.
We also produce conservation focused instructional resources that include: printed materials, videos, object kits, and web-based activities.
The Museum also provides professional contributions to conservation through its many scientific publications and lectures.
Although a visit to the Museum of Natural Science is a fun-filled and entertaining experience, the facilities and exhibits are carefully crafted to inspire our visitors by providing substance to our conservation mission. Located along the Pearl River in Jackson, LeFleur's Bluff State Park is an ideal location for a museum that is focused on the conservation of Mississippi's natural landscape and its inhabitants. The site provides a 300-acre natural landscape with more than two miles of flora and fauna-filled nature trails designed to give visitors opportunities for nature walks, photography, and the study of living things in their environment.
Located inside the Museum are a variety of exciting exhibits, including: a series of life-size displays of the state's diverse habitats, a 100,000-gallon aquarium network housing over 200 living species, and a 1,700-square foot greenhouse called "The Swamp."