Nomination Statement for Jane Schnee, recipient of the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s 2019 Citizen Conservation Award

Jane Schnee has always loved nature and been interested in conservation. When she moved to Sebastian, FL from the Florida Keys in 2003, she started hiking the preserves managed by Indian River County, including the North Sebastian Conservation Area near her home. She fell in love with the Florida scrub-jays that thrive in these natural areas and started volunteering with the County to monitor the birds. In late 2011, when an 11-acre undeveloped piece of scrub with resident jays was foreclosed on because the developer went bankrupt, Jane tracked down the bank that now owned it and spent her life-savings to purchase and protect the property. The following article describes the story: The property was recently purchased by the County as a Preserve.

Each year, Jane (who is approaching 80) spends hundreds of hours observing the 150+ jays on the County preserves, her own property, private properties, and the neighboring St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, providing the county Conservation Lands Manager (Beth Powell) and State Park Biologist (Sammy McGee) with invaluable information on number of territories, group size, reproduction, population dynamics, habitat use, human disturbances and other observations of this significant listed species population. She mentors other volunteers to help with the monitoring and she educates groups and the public on this important conservation issue. Jane also spends a lot of time educating the public on the benefits of planting native plants and removing invasives, non-natives and grass in order to help restore critical habitat for our wildlife and to reduce pollution run-off and water usage.  She has been working with local governments to change their Landscape Ordinances to require more native plants in the landscape for the benefit of all.  Jane is most worthy of the Citizen Conservation Award!