52 Weeks of Fun

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White Oak Conservation

Located on the banks of the St. Marys River, 30 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, White Oak encompasses more than 17,000 acres of hardwood hammocks, pine forest, and tidal wetlands. The Gilman family acquired the property in 1938, and philanthropist Howard Gilman established a significant program for the conservation and propagation of imperiled species at White Oak in 1982. Since that time, White Oak has become one of the world’s premier wildlife conservation facilities. Now owned by Mark and Kimbra Walter, both long-standing conservationists were already noted for their philanthropy-supported work with conservation and wildlife programs across North America. White Oak operations and facilities are currently managed by White Oak Conservation Holdings LLC, which the Walters established for this purpose.

White Oak is well-known in the conservation and zoo communities for its rhinoceros, cheetah, antelope, and okapi (a rare giraffe relative) programs, and for its support of conservation in Africa, Asia, and the United States. Since its inception in 1983, the conservation breeding programs have contributed to dozens of rhinoceros, cheetahs, and antelope being born into captive conservation populations. The facility has also been responsible for re-introducing bongo antelope, roan antelope, and black rhinos back into Africa. In the United States, White Oak has worked with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission to bolster wild populations of critically endangered Florida panthers and Mississippi sandhill cranes.

For decades, White Oak has been a leading global organization for the conservation of threatened and endangered species. Today’s White Oak, a one-of-a-kind global conservation organization with some of the world’s most innovative conservation programs to protect endangered wildlife and habitats, was established in 2013. Visitors to White Oak can choose from a variety of experiences, including Conservation Tour, Conservation Event, Safari from Saddle, and Conservation Caretaker Event. The facility also hosts conferences, summer camps, internships and offers a nine-hole golf course that gives players an 18-hole experience, including a hole boasting three waterfalls.

As White Oak is a functioning conservation facility devoted to the care and preservation of imperiled species, it cannot guarantee access or interactions with any specific species during tours or events. Tour times and days are subject to change, especially during the summer months when northeast Florida may experience abrupt changes in weather. Every effort is made to reschedule experiences prior to predicted inclement weather, but there are no refunds for experiences truncated or otherwise affected by the weather. All experiences occur outside across the 17,000 acres of upland forests and wetlands, so appropriate outdoor clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a refillable water bottle are recommended for all experiences. Photo opportunities abound, so be sure to bring a camera.


A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about White Oak Conservation

Male cassowaries incubate eggs and take care of chicks; the female provides no parental care.

Upcoming Events

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  • White Oak Conservation
  • Yulee
  • (904) 225-3200