• Many Voices for Conservation and the Environment

    Continuing our series focused on the contributions of Black Americans, Latin Americans, Native Americans, and other historically under-recognized groups to conservation and environmental sciences, this month we are spotlighting local environmental hero Gloria McNair.

    Gloria McNairGloria is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Groundwork Jacksonville, the city’s primary nonprofit organization specifically created to clean and redevelop Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail and convert contaminated land into parks, playgrounds, trails, and other public greenspace. Her role is to engage Jacksonville citizens, especially residents from historically underserved urban neighborhoods, in visioning, advocating for, and shaping Groundwork projects such as the restoration of McCoy’s Creek and building the Emerald Trail. She identifies and meets with leaders and stakeholders to share information, gain support, and learn the needs of the communities impacted by Groundwork Jacksonville initiatives.

    She is also the manager of Groundwork Jacksonville's Community Restoration Environmental Stewardship Training (CREST) initiative. CREST participants are residents or stakeholders in Jacksonville's North Riverside and Brooklyn neighborhoods, and the program pairs youths and adults in mentoring relationships. In addition, there is a job training element; currently, five of the CREST apprentices have been trained as water monitoring technicians.

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  • Native Plants for Birds

    To help you create bird friendly habitat in your landscape, we are resuming our monthly series featuring a native plant that is beneficial to birds and pollinators.

    Spotted Bee Balm (Monarda Punctata)

    Horsemint watermark CBW IMG 20190511 083643Also called Spotted Horsemint or simply Horsemint, this plant is a member of the mint family and is an herbaceous perennial native to North America. It is one of my personal favorites for the native garden as it is so easy to grow, looks beautiful in a mass planting, and once it blooms, it is covered with pollinators including a number of bee species, wasps, and butterflies. It tolerates full sun and part-shade; it is drought tolerant, and will be happy in dry, sandy soil.

    Spotted Bee Balm blooms from August through October and has beautiful whorls wrapped around the stems in colors ranging from purple to deep pink to mauve. The leaves and stems are very fragrant and high in thymol which has antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. Historically, it has been used to treat ringworm and hookworm infections. In addition, the leaves can be brewed into a mild tea said to promote relaxation. However, please be sure that your plants have not been treated with any pesticides or herbicides before you decide to do this.

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  • Be an EagleWatcher!

    BaldeaglefledglingsAudubon Florida’s EagleWatch Program is a statewide network of community science volunteers who monitor Bald Eagle nests from October to May. EagleWatch provides valuable information on nesting activity and the current trends of the Bald Eagle population in Florida. This information is used by both the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance their conservation and law enforcement efforts.

    Audubon EagleWatch is seeking volunteers to monitor Bald Eagle nests for the 2020-2021 breeding season. Training is required for new volunteers. If you are interested in becoming an EagleWatcher, register for one of the following virtual training sessions:

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  • Fall Migration is Heating Up This Month!

    Baltimore Oriole watermark Sandy Bak 202004September is the month when fall migration in northeast Florida really intensifies, with some species leaving our area after spending their summer breeding season here (Black-necked Stilt, Least Tern, Mississippi Kite, Eastern Kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Prothonotary Warbler), some species just beginning to arrive to spend the winter with us (Dunlin, Northern Harrier, Eastern Phoebe, Baltimore Oriole, Palm Warbler), and some just passing through on their way to their wintering grounds further south (Swainson's Thrush, Bobolink, Ovenbird, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak).

    This is by no means a complete list; just some examples of birds likely to be moving out of, into, or through our area this month.

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  • Upcoming Activities

    Jacksonville Arboretum Path watermark Martha MazzaAs we announced previously, no group outings or indoor gatherings are planned for this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are still offering some fun and informative events! Here's what's coming up for September:

     

    You can also take advantage of a wide array of fabulous, FREE online programs available from Audubon, Audubon Florida, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. And you can watch them on YOUR schedule, anytime you like! Below are some of our favorite recent programs:

     

    These are just a few of the many free programs available online. They are posted on several different platforms, so check their websites (links above), look for them on YouTube, and follow them on Facebook to find more fascinating and informative online programs!