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Tourism Cares for America To Do Nine Mississippi Gulf Coast Projects
From: Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau    Filed 3/16/06  Photos GCN

Tourism industry volunteers from across the country and around the world are on the Coast with plans for some hard work this week. There will be approximately 300 volunteers at this year’s annual event, who include tourism industry CEOs, transportation executives, hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, destination marketers and other industry professionals. And while such types of folks are used to staying in hotels, not this time. They are staying in tent cities, recreation halls and military barracks in the area.

“Let me put it this way”, said Bruce Beckham, Executive Director of Tourism Cares for Tomorrow, the non-profit that is coordinating the annual ‘give back’ project, “You don’t get the typical hotel amenities when you stay in a tent.  These little extras will be very welcomed by the volunteers”.

Tourism – Caring for America is a program developed in 2002 to restore, preserve, conserve and protect America’s tourism related sites. Tourism – Caring for America’s mission is to bring the tourism industry together to work, network and give back, all at the same time, while demonstrating the size and economic impact of the tourism industry to the public, governments, park services and its own workforce.
This year’s event has been expanded to include two full days of work totaling thousands of hours of labor at multiple tourism-related sites which sustained damage or were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The cleanup projects will include the Mississippi Gulf Coast towns of Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach and D’Iberville.  
Tourism Cares for America will be working at the nine sites listed below along the Mississippi Gulf Coast for the 2006 Tourism-Caring for America cleanup project. The group volunteers will be cleaning up the sites in Biloxi, Gulfport, Pass Christian and D’Iberville on March 17 –18, 2006. 

  • Mississippi Coast Coliseum (Biloxi) -  Tourism Cares volunteers will be on site to clean up and plant new sod and trees on the front grounds in time for the Cajun Crawfish Festival.  (Contact: Bill Holmes, Executive Director (228) 594-3700)
  • Beauvoir (Biloxi) – The beautiful historic residence of Jefferson Davis was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, leaving only the home and presidential library standing.  Participants will focus on salvaging historic treasures and bricks that may still be buried beneath the debris.  (Contact: Patrick Hotard, Executive Director (228) 388-4400)
  • Maritime & Seafood Museum (Biloxi) – Attendees will work side by side with museum curators to search for artifacts that may still be buried under the structure’s remains. (Contact: Robin David,  Executive Director (228) 435-6320)
  • Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi) – The four building complex was scheduled for opening July 2006.  Severely impacted by the storm, participants will help remove debris inside the buildings to help achieve the goal of a 2008 grand opening.  (Contact:  Marji Gowdy, Executive Director (228) 374-5547)
  • Lynn Meadows Discovery Center (Gulfport) – Volunteers will focus on rebuilding the Center’s tree house village and outdoor performing pavilion, as well as general beautification at Mississippi’s first children’s museum which is scheduled to reopen May 2006.  (Contact:  Mary Ann Caldwell, Public Relations (228) 897-6039)
  • City of D’Iberville – Tourism Care volunteers will help D’Iberville city officials beautify their city by clearing debris and planting flowers.  (Contact: Rusty Quave, Mayor (228) 392-7966)
  • Ship Island – Participants will be ferried to Ship Island to help clean up debris on the beach.  (Contact: 864-4014. The ferry will leave Gulfport Harbor at 9:15 a.m. and leave the island at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 17.
  • City of Pass Christian – The city of Pass Christian will have the attendees help clean up debris on the beach and remove plastic from trees.  (Contact: Lou Rizzardi, Alderman, Ward 1 (228) 452-0161)
  • J.L. Scott Marine Center – The center is planning to hold its spring and summer children’s camps.  Volunteers will help the center prepare by building cubbies, cataloging books in the library and landscaping the grounds. (Contact:  Shelia Brown, Coordinator of Educational Programs (228) 818-8890)

 For information on participation in this momentous Tourism-Caring for America Gulf Coast Cleanup as a volunteer or sponsor or both, contact Lisa Schmiemann at Tourism Cares for Tomorrow at 781-821-5990 or at lisas@tourismcares.org

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