Target: The Nature Conservancy
Goal: Thank the Nature Conservancy for their successful protection of key scrub habitat in Florida that will sustain rapidly dwindling populations of the Florida scrub jay
If habitat destruction is a primary threat to rare species, the Florida scrub jay is an extreme case. Their numbers have dropped dramatically due to human movement onto the already rare scrub lands of Florida, the only habitat in which the scrub jay can exist. With less than 10,000 of these birds left in the world – and all of them in Florida – these birds are federally listed as a threatened species. Known to mate for life and possess a friendly demeanor, the scrub jay is the only bird species unique to Florida.
Thankfully, the Nature Conservancy, which raises money to buy key habitat in order to protect at risk species, has purchased 100 acres of scrub habitat in Lake County, Florida, a site ranked third on the Critical Natural Lands Priority List. Purchasing the land using funds from a “memorandum of understanding” with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy’s actions come just in time to prevent plans to subdivide and develop the tract, which would have destroyed the habitat and impeded the fire management necessary to sustain a multitude of species in the area, scrub jays included.
According to the Nature Conservancy, permanent preservation of this land also protects other documented local species like the Florida black bear, the gopher tortoise, the gopher frog, and the wild coco, a native orchid.
Connecting with a Seminole State Forest parcel, the Lake County tract both unites local scrub jay populations with scrub jay families to the north and actually opens up 300 acres of contiguous scrub jay habitat. In the words of Nature Conservancy Director of Conservation Doria Gordon, protecting this land “means life to multiple generations of birds.”
Dear Nature Conservancy,
I would like to offer sincere thanks for your successful purchase of 100 acres of scrub land in Lake County, Florida, protecting vital habitat for the threatened, endemic Florida scrub jay and countless other local species. Your actions have prevented the subdivision and development of the already rare scrub land. I applaud your integrity in following through on this initiative in a timely manner.
Your dedication to conservation and your commitment to founding your efforts on ecological principles represent both admirable leadership and hope for all who cherish natural wildlife and environments and stand for their defense. I take comfort in seeing more of our world’s natural bounty protected, and I wish you luck in your current and future efforts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr