The Crosby Arboretum is owned by Mississippi State University and operated by the MSU Extension Service, and is dedicated to educating the public about their environment. This mission is carried out by preserving, protecting, and displaying plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem of Mississippi and Louisiana, providing environmental and botanical research opportunities, and offering cultural, scientific, and recreational programs. The Crosby Arboretum was the 2016 recipient of the Association's Garden Excellence Award which is awarded to a public garden that exemplifies the highest standards of horticultural practices.