Let Nature Challenge You
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 three 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. $3 non-member visitor donation requested to help pay operations.
Open to the public 7 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Entry gates are locked promptly at closing so plan your visit so that you exit the Arboretum prior to closing.
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News – December 2016
A Message from the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens President – Willis Jones
Dear Friends of the Arboretum,
This month, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens will celebrate the eighth anniversary of its grand opening in November 2008. While much has been accomplished in our short history, our beautiful urban woodland is a work in progress and we ask that you consider the Arboretum in your seasonal giving this year.
Some of our accomplishments this year include:
- Hosted our popular fundraising event – the “ArborEATum Wine & Food Fest” in October.
- Hosted the First Coast Air potato/invasive species roundup as part of the National Invasive Species Awareness Week.
- Conducted many group tours and special community service work projects as requested by local schools, alumni associations, civic groups and businesses.
- Offered free monthly nature walks and a quarterly “People and Plants” tour led by our curator.
- Hosted special educational lectures and tours for several Garden Clubs.
- Hosted a tour and scavenger hunt for a special needs group from ARC of St. John’s County.
- With a grant from REI, completed the first segment of the Jones Creek Trail Improvement Project.
- Maintained over 3 miles of trails, bridges, boardwalks, and natural overlooks.
- Installed a new water bottle filler and doggie watering station at our entrance.
- Continued eradication of exotic invasives and continued long-term upland restoration projects.
- Hosted two “Nature at Night”, our semi-annual member & volunteer appreciation events.
- Provided outreach presentations to various civic, social and educational organizations.
- Applied for and received an additional grant from REI that will allow us to build an accessible boardwalk that will allow all our visitors to venture deeper into the Jones Creek Trail area. The Jones Creek Trail will then have accessible avenues on both sides of this beautiful circular viewing experience.
- Implemented plans for our Tribute Brick Giving Circle that will be finished in early 2017 along with new signage at our entryway kiosks.
- Completed a new Strategic Plan to help guide the Arboretum’s development in the future.
As we look to 2017 we desperately need your help to continue the work that goes on daily at the Arboretum by a dedicated volunteer staff who work tirelessly to keep our property open at no charge to the public 365 days a year. I am asked often how much of the funds we receive go directly back into the property and the answer is 100%. We have no paid staff and invest everything into further development and to keeping the Arboretum as unique as we can make it.
We are presently devoting much of our time and energy to the clean- up necessary to remove the devastating damage of Hurricane Matthew. When you are home to 120 acres of trees a certain amount of damage is expected but Matthew was particularly unkind to certain areas of the Arboretum including the Aralia and Jones Creek Trails. I believe these to be some of our most beautiful assets and it is heartbreaking to see them disturbed in this way.
The extent of the tree falls and the damage caused will take quite a while to erase. Much of this cannot be handled by our regular volunteer corps and will have to be handled by professionals. We can do this only as funds become available so this year we are specifically asking our friends and donors to include us in your holiday giving. This will help us to restore the natural beauty to the most affected areas as soon as possible.
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization, depends on the financial support of members and donors. Please help us continue our mission of “cultivating a unique environment for recreation, education and inspiration” by sending a tax-deductible year-end donation, which we will gladly acknowledge in writing. If you wish to become a member as well, please visit our website at www.jacksonvillearboretum.org for more information. Please visit the Arboretum soon to take advantage of all it has to offer.
With much appreciation for your support, I wish you holidays filled with family and friends.
President/ Chairman of the Board
The Horseradish Tree
The horseradish tree is a member of a small genus of tree species native to Africa and Asia. The horseradish tree, Moringa oleifera, grows to about thirty feet tall and may have multiple trunks. It has large, compound leaves with many small leaflets. A mature tree will have hanging spikes of small white flowers that are followed by long, cylindrical capsules.
Horseradish tree has a long history of use by people and has been spread around the tropics by reforestation and farming projects. Its young seed pods, flowers and young leaves are cooked and eaten as vegetables. The young seed pods are known as “drumsticks” in some parts of the world. Mature seeds may be roasted to eat or pressed for their oil. The oil is used for cooking and in cosmetics and hair products. The roots have been used as a flavoring in cooking. They have a sharp, horseradish flavor. Read more about this plant before eating it, however. Questions exist about the food safety of certain compounds found in its tissues. Some resources specifically discourage pregnant and nursing women from eating the plant.
The seed oil and the seed cakes that remain after pressing have been used as a flocculent for water. A flocculent helps clarify water by causing many of the soil and pollutant particles to drop to the bottom. All parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicines. Lab results suggest that parts of the plant have antioxidant, cholesterol reduction and anti-inflammatory properties. Compounds from the plant are being studied for pancreatic benefits. It may be that some of the horseradish tree’s compounds will prove to be useful in medicine.
This is a fast growing tree in south Florida and throughout the world’s tropics. In Jacksonville, it will be killed back by freezing temperatures. However, an established tree will produce new sprouts from its base in spring, provided the ground does not freeze. A young plant grows in the Arboretum in a bed next to the Tea Garden area where the camellias grow.
Discovering Nature Nearby Programs for 2016-2017
Come learn more about invasive plants on Saturday January 21st at 9:30 AM from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ plant expert Jessica Spencer. We will start out at the Arboretum’s picnic area for our fourth Discovering Nature Nearby program brought to you by TD Bank, Rayonier Advanced Materials, and the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. Each third Saturday of the month through May 2017 expert presenters educate the public on a wide variety of topics. All ages and abilities are welcome free of charge, although contributions to our donation box are greatly appreciated. Bring your nature journal, bug spray, and a keen eye.
Please post your wonderful Arboretum photos to Instagram #jacksonvillearboretum and Facebook www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleArboretumGardens. It helps us reach more visitors and future Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens members. Thanks!
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