Smith Preserve teeming with life

July 5, 2022

The seven-acre Christopher B. Smith Preserve at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center consists of primarily scrub habitat and a restored wetland pond. A natural upland and scrub habitat, the preserve is home to more than 200 plant species, dozens of gopher tortoises, and hundreds of other animal species.

This unique habitat lies on the western side of the campus and consists of primarily scrub habitat and a restored wetland pond.

Florida scrub vegetation is a rare and vanishing ecosystem and is one of the most endangered natural plant communities in the United States.

Hundreds of plant and animal species have been documented inside the Christopher B. Smith Preserve

Scrub habitat is extremely important to preserve, particularly in Collier County, where an estimated 97 percent of the scrub has been destroyed. This only emphasizes the importance of improving and maintaining the scrub habitat that the Conservancy owns.

Scrub habitat is home to dozens of plant and animal species that occur nowhere else in the world.

Rare, endangered, and threatened species such as the gopher tortoise, Florida scrub jay, Florida scrub lizard, sand skink, indigo snake, Florida mouse, and endemic plants like scrub holly, garberia, silk bay and Florida rosemary all need the scrub environment to survive.

As part of the conservation effort, Conservancy biologists worked to protect the tortoise habitat and horticultural volunteers participated in the removal of exotic plants and replanting of native vegetation to support the health of the preserve and its inhabitants.