Bird Watching in Vicksburg, MS
Think the Audubon Society is for the birds? Think again.
Vicksburg is home to one of three Mississippi field offices for the national society, but its reach extends far beyond the city.
“We take on more of a regional role to coordinate activities and manage projects,” says Bruce Reid, director of conservation outreach for the Mississippi River Initiative. “In a general sense, we support Audubon’s conservation mission, but in a larger sense, we protect the entire Mississippi River watershed region from Minnesota to Louisiana. We’re selling the Mississippi River as a national asset, and we think it’s important to raise the profile of the river because it’s truly one of the great river systems of the world.”
Opened five years ago, the office made a deliberate decision to set up shop in downtown Vicksburg to be a part of that area’s rebirth. In fall 2008, they opened the Audubon Nature Store in the building, which includes “lots of quality products that help people learn about many things, including the birds they see and hear; where they can go to get outside and enjoy nature; and how to support our work,” Reid says.
Items for sale include bird feeders, books, nature photography, jewelry and binoculars.
“We’d like to be a welcome center for the Mississippi River environment,” Reid adds. “When you come in we’d like you to recognize you’re standing on the banks of one of the world’s great ecosystems and how to enjoy it more than just looking at it.”
That involves hunting, fishing, biking, and, of course, birdwatching.
“Birds are, for us, a way into a much larger conversation,” Reid says. “Birds can really help us think about the environment that supports them. But our mission isn’t to teach people about birdwatching, it’s really to help them understand the places birds, wildlife and people need to survive, and get them involved in that.”
Learn more about the outdoors in Vicksburg, MS.