Letter From SJBGNP President

As we enter the Christmas season, I want to wish our Garden Members, Volunteers, Employees, Board Members, Corporate Sponsors, Donors, and ALL of our great Visitors a very Happy Holidays! But I also want to say thank you… and WOW!

Together we have accomplished amazing things at the Garden in the last few months! From the massive final preparations for our opening, the Grand Opening itself, and the time since have truly been impressive, including popular Garden Tours and Nursery Gift Shop Visits, not to mention recurring Animal Shows, Musical Acts, and Food Trucks! And we have already had visitors from around the world come and marvel at our beautiful tropical oasis!

But we have a long way to go. We need to keep working hard to improve and cultivate the Garden into what we ultimately hope it will become… One of the premier botanical gardens in the state, and a unique NE Florida resource for research, education, and conservation, as well as community events. In order to achieve these goals, we need to expand our web presence and outreach programs, continue to attract great employees and volunteers, foster more corporate and private donor relationships, secure more grants, and fully engage the county and community in helping us to grow!

Throughout all this, we need to keep in mind that memorable botanical gardens were not built in a day! It will take long, hard hot days of clearing, cleaning, planting and weeding, as well as many hours of designing, writing, scheduling, planning, and oh yes, giving tours! It will not always be easy, and will be a lot of work. But I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their efforts, and am eternally grateful for everything that you have contributed to our shared vision, and for those who keep working, their persistence, their tenacity, and sometimes sheer willpower to work through challenges to create something great, not just for now, but the future! I am totally behind each and every one of you, and want to remind all of you that I am both amazed and awed by the things you have accomplished. Let’s keep up the great work, for today and tomorrow!

With sincere thanks,

Dr. John Rossi
SJBGNP President

Wildlife at Saint Johns Botanical Garden

The SJBGNP doesn’t just have the largest number of palm species in Northern Florida, we also have a nature preserve! And since this preserve is near the Deep Creek Conservation Area, and features a riverine deciduous forest dominated by ash, maples and elms, there are a huge number of vertebrate species that either reside permanently or migrate through the preserve. Also, scores of bird species have been sighted, as well as a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians. Numerous fish have been seen in the creek and ponds here. However, it is the mammals that dominate this habitat, and a wide variety have been viewed in the garden and preserve.

Mammals observed (to date) at the St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve include:

Armadillo, Bats, Black Bears, Bobcats, Coyotes, Deer, Foxes (Gray and Red), Hogs (introduced), Mice (Cotton), Moles (Eastern), Opossums, Otters, Rabbits (Marsh), Raccoons, Squirrels (Fox and Gray), Shrews (Least and Short Tailed), and Striped Skunks!

Of course, due to the secretive or nocturnal behavior of many species, it is possible that one will not spy all, or any of these species in one visit. However, you can be sure that they will be watching you, as you pass over, under, or beside them in the nature preserve… Come check it out!  How many mammals can you spot at the St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve?

Dr. John Rossi
SJBGNP President