Snails & Trails is a 2014 youth-led project that was developed by the DuMond Conservancy, funded by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, and presented and executed by a group of students from TERRA Environmental Research Institute, collectively known as Snail Protection and Environmental Conservation (SPEC).
This program consisted of three major components: surveying a population of threatened tree snail found on the property of Monkey Jungle; restoring the disturbed hardwood hammock habitat on which these snails are found; and community outreach in the form of citizen science workshops catered to summer camps, ages 10-15. Future plans entail the continued revitalization of the area to include native wildlife interpretive displays and spaces for community-oriented programming, such as environmentally themed festivals, camps and workshops.
The main focus of SPEC is the Stock Island tree snail (Orthalicus reses reses), which was previously classified as an endangered species but now has been reclassified as threatened. It is also considered a Cinderella species, named as such because its full potential has not yet been realized. Another species that is being surveyed by SPEC is the banded tree snail (Orthalicus floridensis).
Orthalicus reses reses Orthalicus floridensis
The following video provides an overview of Snails, Sustainability and Service Learning as an innovative program that was created by the DuMond Conservancy. Over the course of the past year, a group of gifted young students from TERRA Environmental Research Institute have been surveying the species of threatened tree snail that occur on the grounds of Monkey Jungle.
In addition to closely monitoring these snails, the students have also been presenting a series of workshops, training students from various summer camps to become Citizen Scientists.