The Friends of the Legion State Park held their first meeting of 2012 on Wednesday morning, March 21, at 10:00, newly installed President, Frances Ball, presiding. Friends and guests attending were Vice- President Paul Simmons, Secretary Joyce Johnson, Park Manager Tim Flake, Glen Green, Carolyn Mills, Marveen Moody, Debbie Moody, Ruth Warner, Henry Brandt, James Russell, Ester Taylor, and Lynne Cunningham. The agenda addresses several projects scheduled for development in 2012. Kline Shepherd is continuing to make and install identifying markers for trees and plants along the Nature Trail. A restroom in the Pavilion area is needed and efforts to fund construction for it were discussed. A suggestion to erect a flagpole and fly the American flag on the front grounds of the Lodge was made and widely, if not unanimously endorsed. Manager Tim Flake allowed that the request made for a new kitchen stove for the Lodge had been received by State Senator Giles Ward and submitted by him to the State Wildlife, Fisheries Board for approval. Plans to move the Gazebo to the RV area were discussed and approval was given to continue long-range plans to expand and update the landscaping around the Lodge. Attention was given and discussion heard on upcoming Park-sponsored events some still in the incubation stage namely: a Bird Walk with Dr. Jeanne Jones in early summer, Trails-Tree Identification Guided Tour along the Nature Trail conducted by Dr. Lelia Kelly on Friday, May 11 at 9:00 am, Annual Fishing Rodeo on May 5, and Christmas Tree Decorating Party. A particularly special event planned for this year is a summer picnic for one and all to celebrate the 75th Diamond Jubilee Year of the opening of Legion State Park on Flag Day, June 14. Details and information will be given wide notice as soon as plans are finalized. This will be an excellent opportunity to showcase our ‘local’ State Park, familiarize the uninitiated, and entertain and enlighten further all those who have spent many a happy hour, day, night, or longer at the Park. Did you read in the Jackson paper about the rehabilitated bald eagle set free on a lake near the north Mississippi town of Marks? The young eagle could barely fly when she was caught on this same lake 18 months ago. When the juvenile bird was found, she was weak and dehydrated and could stretch one wing only part-way out. No one knows what caused the problem but it kept her from flying more than about 5 feet off the ground. The American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, TN took over the care and rehabilitation of the young eagle nursing it back to health in an aviary with two other juveniles and an adult, all from Tennessee. Two of them had broken wings and the third had gotten tangled in fishing line. Because of her origin, the juvenile from our neck of the woods was dubbed, Miss “Mississippi”. With mixed brown and white feathers, as opposed to the deep brown body and wings and white heads of adult eagles, this young miss took right off into the wild blue yonder over the very lake where she had been found “and soared like an eagle,” upon her release according to the Miss. Wildlife ranger who received her upon her returned from Tennessee. I saw a bushy-tailed fox, rusty-red in my back yard the other morning. When I opened the blinds there he/she stood, looking down at the ground for prey, chewing a little and not appearing very wary. It sort of hopped, springing forward, like you see on television, as if catching something (which I never saw), then raising it’s head listening to some dogs barking in our neighborhood, then bounding back into the woods; A visitor from another world – right in my own backyard. Support your local State Park – Legion State Park. Become a member of Miss. State parks, $42.00 annual dues, entitling member to visit all state parks in Miss., or a member of Friends of LSP, $10.00 annual dues. Until we meet again among the green bowers of Legion State Park.