In the Spring of 1997, a nesting pair of Florida scrub-jays was discovered in an orange grove in Clermont, Florida, and 5 fledglings emerged. This family remained on the property for years, and as the young eventually dispersed and the original pair died off, the next generation, consisting of a new male and female, and their surviving young, remain on the property today, and can be seen frequently on what is now the Florida Scrub-Jay Trailhead.
The Trail officially launched in April of 2003 with the awarding of a grant from the National Wildlife Federation’s Keep the Wild Alive – Species Recovery Fund. Ensuing support came from grants from U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s “Partners for Fish and Wildlife” program, the Zamo Family Trust, the McLean Contributionship, Lake County Water Authority, and financial and in-kind support from citizens who share the mission of The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail.
The federal status listing as “threatened’, makes the scrub-jay extremely difficult to spot in the wild. The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail provides an opportunity to experience the jays in close proximity, making for great photo opportunities and binocular viewing.
The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail was conceived to provide direct, immediate benefit to the Florida scrub-jay and its surrounding habitat, and to raise awareness of and involvement in the conservation of the species. In order to accomplish this, land must be cleared of exotic and invasive plant materials and re-planted with scrub oaks, shrubs and groundcovers, many of which are federally listed as threatened or endangered. Citizens and public agencies work in partnership to accomplish common goals.
This is the trailhead for a statewide, interconnected network of scrub-jay habitat, ranging from the Lake Wales Ridge to the south to Ocala National Forest to the north; from Sarasota to the west and Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral to the east. These “pockets” of scrub-jay habitat are connected by corridors of restored habitat acquired by private landowners granting conservation easements; lands purchased by land acquisition programs; and public lands available in parks and open space.
The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail also provides fun and exciting educational experiences for adults and children alike. Visitors all become honorary “Scrub Scouts” as they head out on the Trail to experience the scrub-jay and the plants and other wildlife of the Florida scrub. The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail, recently featured in the Birding Adventures TV program on Fox Sports Net, has proven to deliver a one-of-a-kind up close and personal birding encounter.
Admission to the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail is free. Groups are encouraged to experience the Trail either by observing or participating in the restoration by planting trees and other scrub plants. Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies work side-by-side with church groups, and garden clubs with one common cause – to save the Florida scrub-jay from extinction.
The Florida Scrub-Jay Trail, is a not for profit 501 (c) (3) and will continue on into the future through an outreach program designed to increase the awareness of the need to restore habitat for the scrub-jay, gopher tortoise and native plant species. By linking existing scrub-jay habitat through appropriate natural landscaping in backyards and open space, the corridors will expand along with the public support of the efforts to restore the beautiful environmental treasures of Florida.
Directions from Florida Scrub Jay Trail to Lake County Rowing Association.
Driving directions from Florida Scrub Jay Trail to Family Florida Realty.