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Agricultural News

College of the Muscogee Nation highlighted for USDA Earth Day Celebration

Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:43:23 CDT

College of the Muscogee Nation highlighted for USDA Earth Day Celebration The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Agriculture celebrated Earth Day, in Oklahoma, by visiting the College of the Muscogee Nation. Soon after obtaining their designation as a Tribal Land Grant University, the College became eligible to compete for USDA funds, quickly landing two grants through the USDA's Community Facility program.

One grant, in the amount of $125,549, was used to make improvements to the campus' student center, including adding a cafeteria, purchasing exercise equipment for the fitness facility, and purchasing checkpoint screening equipment to enhance security in the student library.   Additionally, the size of the library was increased by 30% which includes two new study rooms to allow student groups to work collaboratively without disturbing other visitors to the library.

The second grant, in the amount of $145,302 was utilized to establish the Mvskoke Cultural Community Garden.

Assistant Secretary, Dr. Joe Leonard, joined USDA Rural Development State Director, Ryan McMullen, for the official groundbreaking of the garden as part of Earth Day celebrations taking place across the country.

"Conservation and preservation are at the heart of this garden," said McMullen. "Not only does it represent the Muscogee people's commitment to environmental stewardship, it seeks to preserve their language and cultural traditions."

Muscogee Nation College President, Robert Bible, provided a tour of the garden site, which has been surveyed, and elevations established. The site will include a detention pond that will provide the water for the garden's drip irrigation system. An arbor will be established that will provide outdoor classroom space. The project will also feature natural landscaping and a walkway, which will be blended into the garden project and will feature signage identifying culturally significant plants using the Mvskoke language.

"Across the nation, USDA is highlighting Earth Day projects to help increase our nation's commitment to environmental stewardship," said Assistant Secretary, Joe Leonard. "This project demonstrates the importance of teaching our young people good conservation, environmental, and agricultural practices. I commend the college and the Muscogee Nation for their vision and commitment to promoting these valuable practices."

Pictured from left to right: Norma Marshall, Mekko Tyner, Dr. James King, Ryan McMullen, Dr. Joe Leonard, Jr., Robert Bible, James Allred, Jan Heart. Photo by: Mvskoke Media/Amanda Rutland



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