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November 15th, 2017



An excerpt from the Florida Natural Area Inventory's

Atlas of Florida's Natural Heritage

       "Continuing loss, fragmentation, and degradation of scrub habitat has resulted in a loss of 80 to 90% of Florida scrub-jays. A greatly increased rate of decline has occurred in recent decades, dropping from a range-wide estimate of 10,700 birds in 1993 to roughly 6,930 birds in 2005. The largest remaining populations are found on federal lands (Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge/Kennedy Space Center and Ocala National Forest) and scattered locations on the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands counties. The Florida scrub-jay is listed as threatened by both the federal and state governments."

"Jay Watch helps everyone keep track of Florida scrub-jays. The program, developed by The Nature Conservancy in conjunction with Archbold Biological Station, tracks populations of scrub-jays across many public and some private lands. Jay Watch data also strengthen calls for increased use of fire to improve scrub-jay habitat on conservation lands. In 2009, vegetation was too dense to be suitable for jays at more than half of survey points. Jay Watch volunteers covered 63 sites in 18 counties in 2009, and the information they gather is critical to our understanding of the health of one of Florida's most unique species."

By using map data, scientists and other nature conservationists are able to take better actions toward saving endangered species like the Scrub Jay. What other ways can we analyze maps to help our Florida birds? Using map analysis, what are other changes we can make in our behavior towards the environment?




How can maps help us to learn about birds and where they live?



Project this map and this map of the Florida Scrub Jay’s habitat range.

Provide 1-3 minutes for students to analyze the map and then ask the following questions:

  1. Where is the most of the range found for the Florida Scrub Jay? North, South, East, West, and/or central Florida?

  2. Do the scrub jays seems to live more in one area(s) than another?

  3. What do you their habitat might look like?

  4. Review the following key ideas: habitat, Florida Scrub Jay, and scrub oak and have students draw visual memory clues for each.

  5. Once this is completed, provide each student with a copy of the map found at the link above and glue to the bottom half of a piece of paper.

  6. Reflection Question: Based on what you have learned so far explain how and why the Florida Scrub Jay is endemic to our state? Record this reflection at the bottom of the paper.

Assign each student the following:

  1. Tampa Bay Times Newspapers in Education tabloid: Celebrating Tampa Bay’s Wildlife and Habitats

  2. Legal size manila folders (student’s name recorded on them); students may keep their papers, the wildlife and habitat newspaper in their manila folders and file in the milk crates.

Group students into triads and introduce the title page of the tabloid and then ask students to briefly skim pages, 2,3 and 10.


Assign each student a page to record three facts on their handout. Example: Student #1 assigned pg 2; Student #2 assigned pg 3; Student #3 assigned pg 10.


Reading independently each student will read their assigned page and record three facts they will record on their papers and then share with their triad. Example: once their facts are recorded and the other triad members have completed theirs, students will have 3 minutes each to share their facts while others in the triad record these facts on their own handout.

Informal Assessment:


Reflection: Identify and highlight the most important fact you learned about Florida’s natural environment and share with your triad.




How can maps help us to learn about birds and where they live?

Continue to check back

for more resources.

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