A small inexpensive (less than $1000) container yard, measuring 10 × 10 ft square, with an automatic irrigation system was designed for schools participating in the Louisiana State University Coastal Roots Program: A School Seedling Nursery Program for Habitat Restoration. Students helped install the container yard on their school site and oversee native plant production through the course of the school year. Teachers and other school staff checked the nursery during summer months to ensure that the irrigation system was working properly and the plants were healthy. Students grew ≈1000 restoration seedlings per year in their container yard. Each year they transplanted their seedlings and grass plugs on trips to habitat restoration sites across Louisiana's coastal zone. Since the inception of the program in 2000, the students using this container yard design have produced nearly 24,500 trees and shrubs and over 8000 grass plugs.
The Coastal Roots School Seedling Nursery Program for Habitat Restoration was initiated by Louisiana State University in 2000 in cooperation with Louisiana Sea Grant. The program enhances learning areas such as plant growth, wetland issues, conservation, and hands-on habitat restoration, and includes the installation of a small container nursery for the production of coastal plants in schoolyards. The program was adopted by Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in 2008. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the program as well as Mississippi's plans to adapt the Louisiana model to demonstrate teaching by example through hands-on demonstration that will supply students with real-world conservation and stewardship experience.