Jeannine May, KRB’s executive director, made the news this week at an event that promoted conservation of threatened and endangered species. May works as the state public affairs specialist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and her agency is helping The Nature Conservancy create new habitats for the gopher frog in Jackson County. Click here to check out the news clip.
The gopher frog is one of 29 threatened and endangered species associated with the longleaf pine ecosystem of Mississippi’s coastal plain. Only 250 gopher frogs exist in the world, mainly in two ponds in Mississippi.
What’s pretty neat about the gopher frog is it depends on another animal of the longleaf pine ecosystem – the gopher tortoise. May is pictured above with a gopher tortoise (well, you can sort of see it!). The gopher tortoise is named for the burrows it digs. The gopher tortoise – often described as the keystone species of the longleaf pine ecosystem – has experience population declines like the gopher frog because of loss of habitat. The range of the longleaf pine trees has been reduced by 97 percent since European settlement. May’s agency, NRCS, is one of the groups fighting to restore this crucial ecosystem.
We are proud of May’s accomplishments and her work to foster sustainable, healthy ecosystems!