Reclaiming Highland Oaks Park for Nature

There is a constant battle in many places between the environment and human activity, and south Florida is one of those places. But on Saturday May 12th, the Museum’s Reclamation Project took steps to help the environment win the battle. With the help of 102 volunteers, this eco-art based restoration project completed the final phase of restoration of the freshwater wetland at Highland Oaks Park. Within this park is the beginning of the Oleta River, which is the only fresh water tributary to Biscayne Bay that has not been altered by flood control systems – which means it flows naturally and unimpeded from source to sea. The restored Highland Oaks habitat will provide the low-salinity environment necessary for fisheries as well as a critical nesting and foraging area for native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. With this goal in mind, volunteers planted 642 freshwater native plant species in the cypress wetland area of the park. Who were all of these volunteers? About half were people from around our community, and half were youth participants in the Museum’s award-winning Upward Bound Math and Science Program. The students planted trees and shrubs, removed invasive plants that threaten the site, and learned about the important role native habitats play in a growing metropolis such as Miami. After completing the replanting phase at Highland Oaks, the students are ensured that nature will take care of the rest. Native fish, birds and mammals are already returning to the site. The power of volunteer restoration is that it allows Miami residents to have a direct role in bringing nature back to our city.

Volunteers help restore Highland Oaks Park

The Museum's Upward Bound staff joins the effort

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