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Union University, Cypress Grove Nature Park to establish partnership

JACKSON, Tenn.April 18, 2005 – Union University and the city of Jackson’s Cypress Grove Nature Park have teamed up to enhance the educational opportunities the park provides to the local community.

“We were trying to piece some people together to keep the growth very much alive,” said Sylvia Pinson, the city’s superintendent of recreation. “It’s such an educational area of our city.”

Pinson said when Union University biology professor James Huggins approached her about a possible partnership through the Hammons Center for Scientific Studies, which he directs, it seemed like a perfect fit and “the wheels started rolling.”

Huggins said the university will work with Cypress Grove in the areas of education, service and research.

“I saw a great opportunity from an education standpoint,” Huggins said. “It’s a natural laboratory that can be used out there.”

Cypress Grove will provide the opportunity for Union students to participate in wildlife rehabilitation and urban ecology projects, as well as other projects such as bat houses, wildlife photography and star labs.

At the same time, Union faculty and students will help the park with such projects as creating and placing signage and providing educational opportunities at the park. Pinson said Cypress Grove is a popular stop on tour bus itineraries, and she would like to see an education center built in the near future. She thinks the partnership with Union could help achieve that.

Cypress Grove is located on U.S. Highway 70 West and is home to a wide variety of indigenous wildlife, birds and waterfowl. The 4,000-acre park opened in 1985.

The partnership will officially launch April 30 at 10 a.m., when Union President David S. Dockery and Jackson Mayor Charles Farmer will conduct a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the park.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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