Business News for the Mississippi Delta

Amanda Delperdang

By Lyndsi Naron

Amanda Delperdang, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Mississippi Delta Nature                       and Learning Center in Greenville,  is educating communities about the importance of nature.

Originally from Utah, Delperdang received her Fine Art degree at Utah State and then decided to join Teach for America. Later, she met her husband who had also been a part of  TFA.

Delperdang has two children, one six-year-old boy and one three-year-old girl. Her family decided to stay in the Delta because they love the people, the pace of life, and the weather.

“We just did not want to live in a city,” says Delperdang. “We both come from the suburbs of big cities. We actually really love that there’s not really snow here. We both come from really cold places.”

According to Delperdang, she has taught art, first grade, and third grade reading.

“There was a need for first-grade teachers, so I ended up getting a master’s degree in elementary ed from Delta State,” she says . “I also have a specialist degree in administration from Delta State.”

Delperdang decided to stop teaching and co-found the Mississippi Delta Nature and Learning Center because she noticed children were not going outside as much as they did when she was a child.

“We came home from school, and we were sent outside to play until it got dark,” says Delperdang. “I think that’s a pretty common narrative for people who are older than thirty-five or so. It has shifted, especially with phones and computers.”

When Delperdang began gardening regularly she noticed how connected she felt with nature and the disconnectedness she was seeing in the children became more concerning to her.

“Recess was such a challenge because there’s such an emphasis on testing,” says Delperdang. “If we did have an extra ten minutes at the end of the day, I gave them a choice. They could go outside for ten minutes, or play on the computers for ten minutes. They always chose the computers.”

Delperdang says her passion is children and what drives her is seeing the students wake up to the nature around them and become more curious and attentive to the world.

“Technology is a part of our lives, and we need to accept it, but we also need to be aware of the world around us and how to take care of the environment.,” says Delperdang.

In her position as co-founder and Executive Director, Delperdang handles most all the community outreach, programming, and grant writing.

“I am responsible for basically everything,” says Delperdang. “We’ve only been open for six months officially, and we’re a really small organization. We are considered a nonprofit organization, and anyone can donate or find more information about us and our programming on our website,”

“We’re really interested in teaching about native food that grows here, things we just drive by or walk by every day, and you can actually use for medicine or food,” says Delperdang. “There’s so many things that are growing around us, and we don’t know what they can use these for.”

In the future, Delperdang is hoping to continue to provide education surrounding nature and expand their food production so they can help with food access and general health.

“We want to be one of those places in the Delta where families can come and be together,” says Delperdang.

The center is located at 1950 Lisa Drive in Greenville and they are open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. They are also currently offering their outdoor pavilion event space for birthday parties, family reunions, weekly programing, and field trips.

“We have really big goals for what we feel like the Center can contribute to the Delta,” says Delperdang.

Delperdang is also the President of the Master Gardeners of Washington County, a member of the Leland Deer Creek Garden Club, and a member of the Greenville Rotary Club.

When Delperdang is not focused on the center, she enjoys cooking, baking, creating art, traveling, and spending time with her children.