The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory recently received a $10,000 donation from Blossman Gas toward outdoor kitchen equipment for the new Marine Education Center (MEC).
During a tour of the construction site at the laboratory’s Cedar Point location in Ocean Springs, MEC staff and Blossman agreed the $10,000 donation would be best spent on a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen area for the new education facility. The donation will allow for the purchase of Saber EZ outdoor propane kitchen equipment, an outdoor propane Grand Fire Pit from Golden Blount and the installation of an in-ground propane gas tank for the outdoor kitchen area.
“Blossman Gas has greatly enjoyed working with USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and was pleased to be able to make the donation of an outdoor fireplace and gas grill to their new Marine Education Center,” said Blossman Gas Spokesman Alex Gresham. “We are honored to support facilities like this one, which contribute to our local community and will attract many visitors to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for generations to come.”
MEC Director Chris Snyder said the Marine Education Center was designed as a community-based learning center to replace the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With future community involvement in mind, MEC staff wanted to reach out to local businesses to allow them the opportunity to put their personal stamp on the new facility.
“Our partnership with the Blossman Gas family is a reflection of our commitment to joining together with all segments of our community to create an educational facility that provides a venue for people to learn the importance and value of both our coastal habitats and waterways and the plants and animals that call them home,” Snyder said. “We are thankful to Blossman’s for partnering with us to create an attractive, convenient space to meet, learn and recreate.”
Groundbreaking for construction took place in Aug. 2015 with the end date estimated for Dec. 2017. The new MEC facility will function as the education and outreach arm of GCRL, and promises to be an all-encompassing emersion experience for participants in a unique and beautiful setting. It will include a mix of public exhibits, classrooms, laboratories, meeting spaces and administrative offices, while also featuring outdoor learning and field experiences through a system of trails, boardwalks and outdoor classrooms.
“This donation will allow us to provide students, visitors and members of our community with an opportunity to sit out around a fire and enjoy the natural beauty of this special place,” Snyder said. “We believe that being outside and enjoying the beauty of our coastal environment is an important component to understanding the value of these habitats and the need to protect and maintain them.”