FWC estimates vast majority of scrub jay habitat is gone
Fire isn’t always destructive — just ask anyone who knows a thing or two about Florida scrub jays.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, scrub jays dwell in “areas of deep, well-drained, infertile sandy soils that are typically white or near white.” A lack of natural and prescribed fires allows vegetation to accumulate, spoiling the rare birds’ natural home.
The species is bold, smart and full of personality. And it’s the only bird not found anywhere outside of the state. Unfortunately, habitat loss has plagued scrub jay population counts for centuries.
FWC estimates scrub jays have lost 90 percent of their habitat since the 1800s. The federal government currently lists the Florida-exclusive screech bird as a threatened species.
Fortunately, there are efforts underway to aid the Sunshine State’s feathered friends.
The Florida Scrub-Jay and Wildlife Festival on Saturday at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona will educate attendees on the ecological significance of the species and how fire assists the scrub jay habitat. The free event offers eco-buggy rides, guided hikes, wildlife exhibits and presentations, and activities for kids. It will continue until 4 p.m.
Scrub jays are populated in pockets across the state, including FWC-managed properties Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area, Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area and Platt Branch WEA. In the wild, the birds often are spotted in Ocala National Forest and Seminole State Forest.
Women in French Conference comes to FSU
The conference exploring how women’s voices have been heard in French language literature is coming to Florida State University next week.
The 2018 International Women in French Conference, hosted by the Winthrop-King Institute at Florida State, will focus on “Le bruit des femmes” or “women and noise” as the #MeToo movement shines a light on women speaking out in the public sphere, particularly in the workplace.
This year’s edition is ninth in the series and will run Feb. 8 through Feb. 10.
The keynote address featuring Elizabeth McAlister, professor of religion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, will be held 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Globe Auditorium, 110 S. Woodward Ave.
Florida Capitol Complex debuts new recycling containers
To minimize waste, four groups have launched the Capitol Complex Recycling Program to encourage people to recycle bottles and cans during the 2018 Legislative Session.
New bottle-shaped recycling containers have been placed throughout the Capitol by the Florida Beverage Association, which received a grant from the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America. The containers are wrapped with the FDEP logo “Rethink. Reset. Recycle.”
The goal of the project is to increase the recycling rate in the Capitol by 25 percent during the first six months of 2018.
“We are proud to partner with the Florida Recycling Partnership, Keep Florida Beautiful and FDEP on the Capitol Complex Recycling Program,” said Liz DeWitt, the executive director for the Florida Beverage Association.
Stuff the Bus is back
One in five people in Tallahassee and neighboring areas are at risk of not having enough to eat, according to America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend.
That’s why the City of Tallahassee StarMetro is once again launching the “Stuff the Bus” food drive. The capital city’s transit system last year collected 2,000 pounds of food, which helped provide over 2,000 meals to local families.
The process is simple: throughout the month of February, all StarMetro buses will accept nonperishable food items. Canned vegetables, boxes of pasta, rice, cereal, canned meat and peanut butter are preferred.
The donations will be distributed throughout the 11 counties that make up the region. As a whole, Second Harvest throughout the past year distributed more than 7.2 million pounds of food through its partner agencies, totaling more than 6 million meals.
Donations also will be accepted at some city facilities and more than 30 locations throughout Tallahassee. For a full list of donation drop-off sites, visit Talgov.com/StarMetro.
Now for this week’s edition of Capitol Directions: