Let Nature Challenge You
Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
1445 Millcoe Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a 120-acre urban woodland full of trails for you to explore and enjoy. From the trailhead next to the parking lot, a stabilized walkway encircles a beautiful two-acre lake. This trail gently descends about 25 feet from to the foot of the lake and then returns up a gentle slope on the opposite side to the trailhead. Interpretive signs and over 100 labeled plants enhance the loop. In addition, over two miles of rustic hiking trails wind quietly through a series of distinct ecological habitats. Along the trails, benches invite you either to pause and enjoy the view or to get in a good stretch during a vigorous walk. The Arboretum is developed and managed by the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Inc., a non-profit entity that leases the land from the City. Except for special events, there is no admission fee.
News – March 2015
Looking for a fun way to spend a day or two … or three? Consider volunteering at our upcoming plein air painting event April 16th-18th. With 37 artists painting throughout the Arboretum Thursday through Saturday and additional activities on Friday and Saturday, big crowds are expected. We will need greeters, parking attendants, set up and breakdown crews, and runners to help out as needed. There are four-hour shifts available on Thursday & Friday (9AM-1PM and 1PM-5PM) and three-hour shifts on Saturday (9AM-noon and noon-3PM) both with periodic breaks.
This is a great way to enjoy spring in the great outdoors, while supporting your Arboretum. Please let us know if you can volunteer for a few hours, one day or all three. Any time you can give is appreciated. If you have a specific task you would like to handle, we will try to accommodate your request; however, we would greatly appreciate the flexibility to assign our volunteers as needed. Just let us know the days and times you are available and someone will contact you.
If you are able to volunteer, please plan to attend the volunteer orientation/training at the Arboretum on Saturday, April 11th from 10AM-noon. For more information about the event and to sign up as a volunteer, go to www.abrushwithnature.org.
Photos – Courtesy of Rachael Sulkers
Step Out In Nature is in its final month at the Arboretum. So, please don’t forget to log-in your steps at www.stepoutinnature.org! There have been fantastic turnouts since initiating the spring schedule and our new partnership with Expedition First Coast. We have surpassed our goal of one million steps; but more importantly, families are enjoying outdoor activities together, while walking the Arboretum’s beautiful trails. The topics taught during the “Fun Family Outdoor Activities” have included learning about predator/prey relationships, native flora and fauna, orienteering, and invasive species. All of the activities have emphasized the learning process and in some cases the parents learned just as much as their kids.
Congratulations to all of the families who have Stepped UP for Step Out In Nature.
Photo – Coral root orchid (C. wisteriana) courtesy of Melinda Simmons
An Orchid in the Arboretum
What comes to mind when you think of orchids? Many people think of big, colorful flowers hanging from the branches of lush, tropical rainforests. Actually, a lot of orchids have tiny, dull-colored flowers unsuitable for corsages or potted plants. Over 20,000 orchid species grow in forests, grasslands, swamps, deserts, and even range above the Arctic Circle, on every continent except Antarctica. Over one hundred species are native to Florida, a few of which grow on tree branches, but most grow in the ground. One such native orchid was spotted at the Arboretum in early February, the spring coral root (Corallrhiza wisteriana). This is a fairly common orchid that ranges through most of Florida and much of the United States. Against the background of dead leaves on the forest floor, most people do not even notice the brown stalks of this leafless orchid. With a magnifying glass, you could see that its short-lasting small brown flowers have white lips with tiny purple spots. These are replaced soon by seed pods and then the plants disappear until next year.
Spring in Their Step
In February the Queen’s Harbour Garden Club took a brisk, yet lovely tour of the arboretum. While most of the deciduous trees were still bare, revealing nests amongst their branches, brightly colored seeds of the red maple stood out against the blue cloudless sky. Signs of the coming spring were evident from the buds of the red bud (Cercis canadensis) and dogwood (Cornus florida) trees in the garden area. Various fern species along the Loblolly Boardwalk and Jones Creek displayed new fiddle heads. Parts of the Upper and Lower Ravine Trails were decorated with flowering and fallen carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) blossoms. All in all it made for a lovely morning spent with a delightful group of people.
Volunteer Gatekeepers are needed for Thursday mornings. Please send an email to: