It’s a new day – and there’s a new look – at the Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center.

From flooring to fixtures and everything in between, Angie Atkins and Chandler Lester have spent the last two-plus years working to re-imagine the 190-acre educational and recreational facility in a secluded area high above the old Tombigbee River Channel.

The work isn’t completed, and Atkins said she and Lester have plenty of more great ideas to make the center even better, but they are eager to show off the work they have done to the community.

“It is a hidden jewel,” said Atkins, who has been the director of the Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center for a little more than three years. “When Chandler and I stepped in, we knew we wanted to take the center to the next level.”

Mississippi University for Women leased the Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center, which is located at 2200 Old West Point Road in Columbus, from the United States Army Corps of Engineers on Oct. 1, 1995. The center lends itself to training, education and recreation for a variety of groups, including professional associations, businesses, educational institutions, city and county governments, churches, as well as individuals and their families and friends. It is equipped to handle retreats, planning sessions and workshops; training and educational programs; professional development opportunities; conferences; formal and informal gatherings such as weddings and family reunions; alternative recreational activities; and environmental and nature science studies.

Atkins said her goal when she took over as director was to find a way to make the center, which has been open for more than 25 years, shine. She said the work started on revamping the main building and then moved to the cabins. So far, Atkins said 20 of the 24 cabins at the center have been renovated.

“Everything is pristine and new,” Atkins said. “Each of the cabins has its own motif to make it unique and add to the wow factor.”

Atkins said work continues to make everything else at the center just as appealing. She and Lester applied for a $750,000 grant that will be used to enhance the center’s five trails that span four miles. Atkins credits Lester, the coordinator of the center, for all of his hard work in helping get the facility to this point. Now, she said, the key is to get the word out about all of the improvements and to get people in the community to see what a fresh and new center has to offer.

“It is a multi-purpose facility that can be used for social and/or business events, by people who come into town for sporting events at Mississippi State or The W or for people who want to experience nature and get away from things without being too far away,” Atkins said.

Atkins said the center also is perfect place to learn about nature and that the center offers a river, a pond, woodlands, cypress sloughs, nature trails, an outdoor teaching facility and outdoor laboratories. Plymouth Bluff is a well-known Cretaceous fossil bed composed of marine sediments deposited when the area was part of a vast inland sea. Since the bluff contains an abundance of fossilized animal remains, including mollusk shells and shark teeth, it represents an excellent laboratory for geology and paleontology.

Even though work at the center slowed due to COVID, Atkins and Lester said they have checked off a lot of the items on their to-do lists. They have plenty of more ideas (a big fire pit, outdoor concerts) to implement, though, including a community cleanup day and an event that will coincide with the holiday season, but they are confident enough has been done that it is time to show off their “hidden jewel” again.

“We have addressed a lot of the major things,” Atkins said. “We are so excited about the progress we have made and would love for everyone in the community to see our new look and rediscover our potential.”

For more information about Plymouth Bluff Center, please visit or call (662) 329-7126. To find out how your corporation or organization can support the center, contact The W’s Office of Development at (662) 329-7148.

Nov. 7 , 2022
Contact: Adam Minichino
(662) 329-1976

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.