Jada Crawford co-hosts Wild Palm Beaches, a short-form nature program now streaming on The Palm Beaches TV. All episodes are available to watch here.
- Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! I'm Jada, and I'm 20 years old and currently attending Florida Atlantic University studying art. I officially moved to Florida about eight years ago, but I grew up traveling back and forth between Georgia and Florida since I was very little so I spent a lot of my childhood down here.
- How did you become involved as a host for Wild Palm Beaches?
Well, I met Benji Studt, the host, while interning at the the Palm Beach Environmental Resources Management after I graduated high school. It was very fun and exciting experience where me and a few other student interns got to experience the beauty of South Florida wildlife firsthand while observing several different jobs at ERM, such as mosquito control and marine surveying. After I finished the internship Benji reached out to me with this amazing opportunity and idea for a show, and I quickly took it!
- What do you like about doing the show?
I really, really enjoyed getting up close and personal with Florida's beautiful, unique wildlife. It took me back to being a curious little kid, you know? Back to being unafraid of exploring the backyard and fearlessly observing new creatures. I feel like as I got older the things I was fascinated by became scary (like bugs!!!) and participating in this show allowed me to truly reconnect with my love for nature without fear.
- Were you into nature exploration before doing the show or has the show sparked a new interest?
I was already into nature exploration! I truly think doing the show just shook the fear out of me that crept up as I reached adulthood. As a kid I was always outside, always digging around and exploring, and Wild Palm Beaches really helped me get back into exploring and helped maintain that curiosity.
- You spot a beautiful Barred Owl in one of the episodes. Is that your favorite bird species? Do you have another favorite bird species?
Although the Barred Owl is totally gorgeous, I personally wouldn't say it's my favorite species. My favorite would probably have to be any sort of crane—they're absolutely lovely and I get super excited to see them land in my backyard on occasion.
- What do you want visitors and locals alike to know about exploring the natural world in Florida?
GO OUTSIDE! Genuinely! There's probably beautiful stuff right in your front yard, or right across the street. Look for natural areas and take the whole family for a hike! It's truly an amazing world out there, and I know most Floridians probably aren't fully aware of the massive amount of biodiversity this state has—I know I wasn't. When I did my internship and did the show with Benji, I saw so many beautiful creatures that I did not even know existed here. So I think everyone, Florida natives and visitors alike, should go outside! Also: Many creatures are incredibly wary of humans, even more so than you are of them. While you should always be safe and cautious, it's also totally okay to be curious and take a look. Most animals are not out to actively harm you besides to protect themselves. So don't be afraid!
- Do you have a favorite spot to explore in Florida? Tell us about it.
I think my favorite spot has to be Peanut Island. I had never been snorkeling before my internship with the ERM, and I was blown away by the beautiful fish and plants I got to be super close to in the lagoon. If you love sun and swimming, it's an absolute must-visit place.