BROOKSVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Noxubee Wildlife Refuge covers 48,000 acres and gets about 160,000 visitors a year.
"Everybody's down here helping us get it back in order and making it look nice so when visitors come they can enjoy it," Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Manager Steve Reagan said.
The volunteers were a mix of Mississippi State students and community members who participated in a day of service Saturday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"We like to think MLK Day is a day on and not a day off," MSU volunteer coordinator Meggan Franks said. "So it is a day to give back and hopefully they feel good about their volunteer efforts, but then they also have a better of appreciation of what MLK Day is."
They're weeding, mulching and clearing brush to help the appearance of the refuge visitor center.
People that work at the refuge said it is important to maintain the land because it is the first thing people see when they visit.
"This is a place where visitors can come and kind of connect with nature for the first time," Reagan said.
Franks said she hopes the students learn from this experience.
"[I want them to] go home and hopefully have a better appreciation for the wildlife refuge," Franks said.
Volunteers also said this effort aligns with Dr. King's message.
"Martin Luther King, of course, was a person for the people and the refuge is for the people," Friends of Noxubee Refuge President Larry Box said.
They said taking care of the refuge is rewarding.
"People who volunteer get a tremendous amount of self-satisfaction from doing that," Box said.
Which is why they said they will continue to help out at the refuge in the future.
The students and Starkville community also participated in other service projects throughout the day, including helping out at a food pantry and learning disaster preparedness tips at the county fire department.