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 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 AND extended summer hours until 7 PM on Monday thru Thursday until DST
Entry gates are locked promptly at closing so plan your visit so that you exit the Arboretum prior to closing.
ADA – For accommodation please contact email@example.com
News – May 2019
South Lake Loop Paving Planned For This Summer
After a very busy fall and winter, in April the board held its first retreat in two years to reset its priorities and develop a work plan for the
Working with the City of Jacksonville’s Public Works Department, final plans have been completed for paving the South Lake Loop at the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens – with work expected to commence sometime in late summer.
The plans are now under review by the St. Johns River Water Management District.
The project, which will enable the Arboretum to offer a more permanent ADA (Americans with Disabilities)-compliant path down to the pavilion area, will involve grading to ensure people using wheelchairs or other visitors with mobility-impairments can navigate down to the pavilion area more easily and safely.
The asphalt path is just over 1,000 feet long and will be an average of 10 feet wide — with the path splitting and coming back together at the palm garden, which is located about half-way down the path (photo below).
Prior to paving, visitors may also note some work being done to extend our irrigation system of reclaimed water that will involve burying ‘sleeves’ underneath the south lake loop that can be accessed later as new gardens are established.
While final plans will be decided in discussions with the paving contractor, we will strive to keep park closures at a minimum – with a goal to keep the Arboretum and its trails accessible from the north lake loop path while the project is underway.
In addition to the paving, there are also plans for several new garden areas along the south lake loop, offering naming opportunities for sponsors and donors, as part of these improvements.
Again, we wish to thank all those donors who took part in our challenge grant over the holidays last year, and the matching grant we received from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund – both which generated the funds necessary to complete this project.
Arboretum Now Closing at 7 p.m.
Monday – Thursday Until DST
In response to comments and requests from guests, the JAG Board of Directors voted to extend closing hours in the spring and summer months to 7 p.m. on weekdays, Monday through Thursday – maintaining 5 p.m. closing hours on weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Arboretum maintains the 5 p.m. closing on weekends upon the advice of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for security reasons, and in deference to volunteers who work in the gardens throughout the week.
Closing hours on weekdays will revert again to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4 when Daylight Savings Time go back into effect.
Collaboration with UNF Begins on New Solar-Powered Irrigation Project
We’re excited to announce a collaboration with biology and engineering students at the University of North Florida (UNF) to design and build a solar-powered watering system and an accompanying educational display for the Arboretum.
Late last year, UNF had the opportunity to receive a grant for the project – and approached the Arboretum to offer its venue for the project. With the grant funding received, the board of directors was briefed in May by Dr. Steve Stagon and approved moving forward with the project.
Under the guidance of Dr. Stagon and Dr. Tony Rossi at UNF, the student team will conceptualize, design and build the system – which will be used to irrigate garden areas where plants do not react well to reclaimed water – or areas we are unable to reach with our current irrigation system.
The team’s challenge during the project will be to maintain the natural beauty of the area, with all items used in the watering system either be buried or designed with a neutral appearance to match the setting, maintain a low environmental impact and be powered using energy harvested on-site from renewable resources.
According to UNF, the project will be run in parallel to, and synergize with, a UNF Transformational Learning Opportunity (TLO) – which is led by the same two faculty members. The seed grant received by UNF will support all the materials, equipment and supplies needed to perform the physical build, while the TLO will support the student teams to travel to two conferences and present their work.
The goal of the project will be a fully implemented solar powered watering system at the Arboretum while providing learning outcomes for the students through a community-based, interdisciplinary hands-on project.
The work done on this project will also reach a wider audience through presentations at national conferences, as well as through our educational display that visitors will enjoy.
Arboretum Board Members led by Steve Wingate, including Melinda Simmons, Lindsay Starner and Kevin Blalock, will be coordinating with the UNF team as the project progresses.
Report on Algae Blooms by JAG Board Member
Since many of us want to stay informed about our natural environment, at the Arboretum and throughout our region and state, we wanted to share a video about algae blooms on the St. Johns River that highlights our board member Melinda Simmons, an assistant professor of marine science at Jacksonville University.
If you’re not already aware, toxins produced by the blooms can affect your liver and nervous system — and recreational contact can also cause rashes, nausea, diarrhea and respiratory stress. State agency data indicates this is just the beginning of what could become a much larger toxic algae outbreak on the St. Johns River.
To help make our waterways better for you and all Floridians, consider contacting your legislative official and urging Governor DeSantis to push for more funding to the Blue Green Algae Task Force to help stop the pollution causing algae blooms at the source safely.
Butterfly Release Success!
Our third annual butterfly release featuring native Jacksonville grassroots expert, Delores Goslin, drew more than 125 people. Goslin explained how to raise monarch butterflies,their life cycle, the importance of planting milkweed, the dangers of pesticides and much more. She spoke about the current plight of the monarch and the actions we can take as a community to help. She brought caterpillars in various instar stages and even a new monarch that had eclosed that morning.
After her presentation, envelopes were given out with painted lady butterflies grown by a nursery in Orlando, Fla. Painted ladies are also called cosmopolitans because they are the most widespread worldwide. They migrate far and wide like the monarchs. Another butterfly presentation is scheduled for the fall.
Honoring Mary Belet
The Arboretum Board of Directors would like to publicly thank and recognize long-time volunteer, Mary Belet for her excellent service in many roles, most recently, Membership Coordinator.
Belet, who has single-handedly coordinated our Nature at Night events, says the Arboretum is a very special place. “I have enjoyed watching it grow and meeting all of the wonderful people that have put their heart and soul into making it what it is today,” she said.
Belet added that she has fond memories of her volunteer service with the Arboretum, “Starting out with clearing trails with Merrill and my grandson. Moving on to taking charge of the children’s event at The Art of Nature by bringing in storytellers from the public library and other local storytellers.” From there Belet became Membership Assistant and most recently Coordinator. Thank you for your service, Mary!
Thanks for the Publicity!
The Jacksonville Arboretum Board of Directors wants to thank Neighborhoods.com editor Lauren LaBorde for featuring our venue in its most recent Jacksonville Neighborhood Guide.
The guide, an online real estate resource that puts the neighborhood at the center of the home search, details some of Jacksonville’s most popular neighborhoods – along with the businesses and institutions and that help shape that neighborhood’s character and community.
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens was added to its list of “What to Do” in Arlington. Check out the full article here.
Help us continue the mission of the Arboretum by including JAG in your will, trust, or estate plan. Our Tax ID number is 20-1061861.
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