Environmental Destinations

No matter where you go or whom you ask, there is one thing for certain about being a Jacksonville resident: we’re pretty lucky. Surrounded by wildlife, from the St. Johns to the Atlantic Ocean, living in Duval county means sharing our home with all different types of animals, some that live under water.

Dr. A. Quinton White, Executive of the JU Marine Science Research Institute, joined the faculty at Jacksonville University in 1976 and has been a leader on the First Coast when it comes to marine mammal conservation.

“We are blessed with and abundance of places. Immediately around Jacksonville, you’ve got things like going out to Fort Caroline, going to the Timucuan Preserve or Huguenot Park to Hannah Park or going to the beach, walking around the riverbank. There’s just so many things you can do. You can go to Mandarin and go to Mandarin Park and sit on the dock. There are just lots and lots of opportunities,” says Dr. White.

Snake Zoo

More specifically, Dr. White has worked with others in the area, including the University of North Florida, to founded the  JU Marine Science Research Institute. The LEED Gold certified 32,000 sq. ft. facility opened August, 2010.

Among other issues, Dr.White has focused on the conservation of manatees in and around the First Coast, and has worked in conjunction with the Jacksonville Zoo to found the

Along with conservation efforts, professions like Dr. Steven Davis, a JU Professor of Education, also find some uses for the river that runs through our city.

“There are a few paddling clubs that focus on the boat paddling like canoes and kayaks, and there’s stand up paddling groups as well,” says Dr. Davis about one of the many ways people can use and enjoy the river.

For those who want to make engaging with nature a day trip, The Jacksonville Zoo offers plenty of opinions for families, with different exhibits and a different experience every time.


” Although we are planning to design it so that can give our guests views into the facility,” says Craig Miller, the curator of mammals at the Jacksonville Zoo, “certainly behind the scenes tours as much as possible depending on the condition of the animals.

Dr. Adrienne Atkins is a veterinarian at the Jacksonville Zoo and helps heal animals that are brought into the zoo. “The public can bring us animals that they find that are injured and then we will triage them, stabilize them and take care of their medical problems… We do have a permit to keep some of the animals that come in and can’t be returned to the wild depending on their injuries or the status of them, but then we also currently have four gopher tortoises that are here for rehabilitation,” says Dr. Atkins.