1,100 Mangroves on the Wall

What takes 1,100 plastic cups, 20 people, 2,200 mangrove seedlings, 5 hours, 2 ladders, and 4 trays of refreshments? Updating the Museum’s Mangrove Wall!

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Anyone who has come to the Museum in the last several years has seen the immense wall outside by our Wildlife Center, which has 1,100 plastic cups lining the length and height of the wall. In each one of those cups is a little mangrove seedling (or propagule) sitting in water. The entire wall looks like a piece of environmental “eco-art,” and that is in fact what it is, in part. Called The Reclamation Project, it is the brainchild of local artist Xavier Cortada, whose participatory eco-art projects engage local residents to imagine what Miami looked like before the concrete was poured. But this is a science museum, and this exhibit has a much larger purpose. It is a part of the Museum’s environmental volunteer-based restoration project, called MUVE (Museum Volunteers for the Environment). Each year new propagules are displayed in these cups, and each May, they are replanted in a native mangrove habitat, thereby restoring that habitat to its natural state. This year several schools will also have eco-art installations, and they will also join us in May to replant their own propagules!

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Over the past 6 years, we have planted approximately 6,600 propagules, effectively reclaiming 4.5 acres for nature. This week, 20 Museum staff and Upward Bound students spent an afternoon putting brand new propagules into the cups. That means taking down a plastic cup, emptying the water, taking out the mangrove propagule, putting a new cup back up, filling it with water, and putting a new propagule in. But now do that 1,100 times (that’s why the refreshments are important).

Come see the new baby mangroves! And we also want YOUR help in replanting them next year! Learn more about MUVE and how you can help restore your beautiful south Florida environment.

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