- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) - The National Audubon Society and the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division have unveiled kiosks at visitors’ centers across the six coastal counties that help identify local birding sites.

The kiosks were unveiled Tuesday for the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail at the Interstate 10 Welcome Center in Moss Point. A device also was installed at the I-10 welcome center in Waveland. MDA provided the funds for the technology, and officials see the kiosks as tools to increase tourism in the state.

Visitors and locals can enjoy the Mississippi Coast Birding Trail located throughout the lower six counties. All 44 sites are highlighted in the newly installed devices.

Mozart Dedeaux, director of conservation education and digital content for Audubon Mississippi, designed a website - https://www.mscoastbirdingtrail.audubon.org - and the corresponding kiosks.

DeDeaux said birders have known about many of the trails for a long time, but it was his job to put them on an easy-to-use website.

“As a designer, I wanted the website to be simple and easy to navigate. It lends itself to interaction,” he said.

It took Dedeaux about eight months to get the system up and running. The kiosks are an abridged version of the website, he said.

It’s an interactive experience,” said Dedeaux. “You click on the county, and that page has photos of species and a description of the nature site. It also shows best times to visit and what kinds of amenities are available at each site. There’s even a live google map and a glossary of habitats.”

Malcolm White, director of tourism for Visit Mississippi, said the kiosks touch on two main tourism points - nature-based tourism and technology.

“This does both,” he said.

White said he wants the kiosks to be a prototype for the way Mississippi handles tourism.


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