Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1st Saturday of the Month is Orientation day at the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail

Always exercising my rapacious thirst for knowledge, I was trying to figure out another way to Google "Florida Scrub" and happened upon an interesting site. The initial attraction was a great gallery of photographs of "scrub plants", but eventually I looked at the whole site.

It turns out that in Lake County Florida, not 35 miles from the Wildwood garden, two Florida nurserypersons, Bruce and Cathy Brown, the proprietors of B. B. Brown's Gardens are recreating scrub habitat on their nursery grounds. Motivated by the appearance of a pair of nesting scrub jays (an endangered species endemic to the Florida scrub community), they have removed inappropriate vegetation, encouraged the scrub natives that still existed where there had been a citrus orchard then a nursery, and reintroduced appropriate plants that had not reappeared. The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail is a great project that has been enthusiastically adopted by the community. School classes visit and help planting and weeding. Volunteer groups come to see the plants and animals that were displaces by agriculture and development.

We stumbled into a Saturday event, an orientation, where Bruce and Cathy walked the trail, explaining why it is necessary, and how they are accomplishing the reintroduction of a habitat. In addition to their physical labor they are utilizing grants, donations, and a wealth of volunteers. They showed off plants and animals and the Jays were right out there. I saw many of the plants I had been reading about, but I missed the Gopher Tortoises. Maybe next time.

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