The fact that Jay Walea has never been featured as The Bluff’s “Local Character” until now is an absolute travesty because he is nothing if not a character. In fact, he probably best represents the local character of Palmetto Bluff, which means we most likely should replace his title as Conservancy Director to Mr. Palmetto Bluff.
As the voice of and champion for the members of Palmetto Bluff who cannot speak – the plants and animals – Jay has worked on the property for over 25 years, beginning his tenure as an intern during the Union Camp era. He now manages the Conservancy and understands better than anyone the lay of this sacred land, and he has made it his life’s work to ensure every decision on Palmetto Bluff is predicated on the needs of those inhabitants that can’t speak – the birds, the trees, the grass, the gators – everything. As far as we are concerned, Jay might as well be Dr. Dolittle’s son because he has gotten everything right, and we think the land and the wildlife would agree.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of happiness is a healthy family and a blessed life.
2. What goes through your mind as your drive to work each morning?
I review everything that is planned for that day as well what could possibly go wrong, which is always backed up by a silent prayer that nothing will go wrong! Then I enjoy the sights while driving through the property.
3. And on the way home?
On the way home I usually think about what my daughters may have done that day, then reflect on what I did that day, and again review what is scheduled for tomorrow. I’m pretty boring.
4. What is your greatest extravagance?
My greatest extravagance is sitting next to a tree, fully camouflaged, calling in a turkey – for me or someone else – during a turkey hunt.
5. Movie that you would recommend to friends?
6. If there were a movie about your life, what would it be called and which actor would play you?
“Through the Eyes of a Guide,” and the actor who would play me would be Seth Rogen.
7. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement on Palmetto Bluff is helping the land transition into an environmentally- responsible development. I also take great pride in constantly educating developers to ensure that we remain good stewards of this beautiful place. And I’m proud of my transition into a manager position without going crazy!
8. What is your most marked characteristic?
I guess my bald head.