travel

First Anniversary!

It has been one year since I made this blog! It was my first attempt at blogging. I had attended the 2017 Mississippi Water Security Institute and wanted to share some of my thoughts about how Mississippi could take better care of its resources.

The blog has grown more than I thought it would and I really appreciate all the people I have connected with through this platform. Surprisingly it isn’t only my mom who reads my blog (she doesn’t even read it)!

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I just finished up the 2018 Mississippi Water Security Institute, which has allowed me to return to what I believe is important. This year at the Water Security Institute we focused on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

 

Here is what we learned that really stuck with me:

Living Lands and Waters

Chad Pregracke was our keynote speaker and he was truly amazing! Chad decided that if no one else was going to clean up the Mississippi River, he would. At the age of 23, Chad founded Living Lands & Waters, a nonprofit that began cleaning the river. Today, the organization has grown to include a full staff and fleet of equipment and has expanded to include Student Educational Workshops, The MillionTrees Project, Adopt-a-River Mile, and Invasive Species Removal, as well as The Great Mississippi River Cleanup.

During the two week program my friends started calling me Chad Jr. Apparently I also pick up a lot of trash.

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pick pick pick up trash!

Round Island

As sea levels are rising more than two inches per year, islands just off the coast of Mississippi are disappearing under water. This is a big problem because barrier islands protect us from hurricanes and storms as well as maintain our brackish water at a very specific salinity. The salinity is perfect for oysters, shrimp, and other seafood that dominate our blue economy.

While this is happening, industries are moving into coastal towns. This leads to dredging out areas so that their ships can get to where they need to go. The excess material tends to be placed out into the Gulf of Mexico. To save money, they could place the excess material where it is needed on top of barrier islands to bring them back above surface. Not only does this save money, but it preserves our coast both physically and economically.

Round Island has been sort of a pilot project for this idea. We went out there and were able to see all of the migratory birds that have claimed it as their temporary home. It is still bare, but that will be finished up soon. I hope all of the coastal states continue this trend.

Beach Outfalls Challenge

Another big problem that contributes to a decrease in our blue economy are the storm water drains. They pump storm water from all over our coast into the Mississippi Sound (the water between the barrier islands and the mainland). The water is full of garbage, sediment, and nutrient runoff. This causes plenty of problems alone, but on top of this, the pipes look very similar to what I would imagine sewage pumping into the Sound would look like. This is not good for our tourism industry at all.

 

another pipe

Example of a storm water drainage pipe.

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Not aesthetically pleasing or safe for people to walk on.

The Beach Outfalls Challenge is a public prize challenge sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and is funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (NFWF GEBF). We want to enhance Mississippi’s ability to restore and maintain ecological integrity by providing measurable improvements to water quality and reducing significant sources of degradation, which will of course provide improvements in the aesthetic appeal of the beaches and therefore help tourism as well.

For the challenge, teams were able to send in plans for addressing the problem and the top three teams would be able to bring their designs to life. From there, water quality could be tested, locals surveyed, as well as other measures of performance to determine how to continue.

I believe this idea is brilliant because there are so many problems being faced by the Mississippi Gulf Coast with one thing after another from Hurricane Katrina of 2005 to the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill on 2010. Can’t wait to see how it all is coming along in the months to come.

 


Germany!

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Today is also a big day because it’s the start of a big adventure. Today I’m leaving my hometown in Mississippi and tomorrow I’m landing in Germany! I’ll be there for about a year!

I’m planning on studying and exploring, but mostly exploring! I’ll definitely be updating you guys on my German adventure (you can see more about it at my school’s study abroad blog)! 🙂


The 2018 Mississippi Water Security Institute has inspired me to work on quite a few projects that will be coming to you guys in the coming months while I’m in Germany!

Peace out,

Kris

8 Adventures of 2017

I believe it’s important to be adventurous in everyday life. Life isn’t about spending all day waiting until class or work to be over – spending all week waiting for Friday – spending all year waiting for vacation.

Regardless, I did go on some great adventures when I was off of work, out of class, or on vacation. Here are my top 8 Adventures of 2017!

1.) San Francisco, California

My mom decided it would be a great idea to go to California on winter break because it shouldn’t get cold there. She wasn’t quite right on that so we sent a lot of time shivering, but it was definitely worth it!

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2.) New Orleans, Louisiana (Round 1)

Lion King at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans! One of the best musicals I’ve ever seen – the dancing was, WOW!

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3.) Cleveland, Mississippi

During Spring Break, I went to visit my high school roommate in her hometown! It was my first time to Cleveland and my first time driving through the Delta. The area is so different from my part of the state – the Pine Belt and the Coast.

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4.) Water Security Institute (Oxford, Clarksdale, and Jackson, Mississippi)

I know I’ve talked about this program a lot, but it was amazing! I got to see Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale, the reservoir in Jackson, and various water-related facilities in Oxford!

This institute was where I got the idea for this blog!

Water Security

I don’t have images of the adventures, but here I am presenting some of what I learned.

5.) New Orleans, Louisiana (Round 2)

Went to see the Train concert with my mom on May 30, 2017.

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6.) Linville, NC

Three reasons I love going to Linville in the summer:

  1. I get to see my grandparents
  2. The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
  3. The views

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7.) Birmingham, AL

Went to Alabama on October 26th and spent a lot of time working on myself. I saw a lot of natural beauty during my time there.

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8.) Chattanooga, TN

I couldn’t make it all the way to Linville to see my grandparents so we met halfway in Chattanooga. It was a relaxing trip of walking dogs and looking at fall leaves.

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Looking back on these adventures with a lot of nostalgia and gratitude. Looking forward to seeing what 2018 has in store.

What adventures have you enjoyed the most? What adventures are you looking forward to in 2018?