Bay St. Louis City Council declares National Small Business Week. From back left, Doug Seal, Gene Hoffman, Jeffrey Reed, Larry Smith, Buddy Zimmerman. From front left, Bay St. Louis Mayor Mike Favre and Hancock Chamber representative Nikki Moon.

Several students from Bay-Waveland Middle School spoke to the Bay City Council last week about their efforts on Magnolia Bayou and the city's Martin Luther King Park.

Kelsey Johnson, community planner at Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, opened the remarks Tuesday.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio of Mississippi State University is leading a watershed education program with students at Bay Middle School and the Hancock County Unit of Boys and Girls Club, Johnson told councilmen.

Gigi Wheeler, science teacher at Bay-Waveland Middle School, also participated and attended Tuesday's meeting with her students.

"Program partners include unabridged Architecture and the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center," according to the information Johnson gave the council. "Students are learning about watershed dynamics, impacts of storm-water runoff on water quality and quantity, and the important role of watershed planning and action. Programming goes beyond STEM to STEAM and connects students with NOAA and other science professionals, as well as local art, design and service professionals.

"The project focuses on Magnolia Bayou, an important local urban waterway located close to both Bay Middle School and the Hancock County Unit of the Boys and Girls Club. "

Coastal research scientists from NOAA , EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, MS Wildlife Federation, along with other STEAM professionals, last month volunteered their time to do water quality testing with the 8th grade students from Bay - Waveland Middle School, Johnson said.

Several of the students shared the results of their studies and artwork with the council.

The program was made possible through funding from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Between February and May of this year, the Gulf Coast Community Design, unabridged Architecture and the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center have been doing after school programming with the Hancock County Unit of Boys and Girls Club. Just under 100 students from grades K through 12 participated in the programming. Students learned about the importance of urban habitats and the role of landscape design in enhancing our communities and coastal ecology.

The project focused on Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Bay St. Louis and connections to Magnolia Bayou Watershed. Student work will be incorporated into a planting design for the park. Magnolia Bayou Watershed programming will continue with a summer program at the Hancock County Unit of the Boys and Girls Club and culminate with a community day of planting, education, art and fun in September at MLK Park.

Johnson and the students -- along with architect Allison Anderson -- also told the council about landscape designs for the Bay's Martin Luther King Park at the corner of Washington Street and Old Spanish Trail.

The students studied garden design, created their own ideas, made site plans, including drawings of plants and construction projects.

Allison Anderson and her husband John, owners of unabridged Architecture, designed a planting and green space project the Boys & Girls Club to prepare at the park. The Andersons also designed new parking facilities and a brick wall "to make the park more appealing and safer," Allison said."We will do the planting in the fall because that's a better time to put plants in," she said; and Bay Council President Jeffery Reed will donate the bricks and labor to build the wall.

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