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The Reclamation Project/Native Flags

News (Updated 10-5-2010):

Fernando Bretos, Director of Miami Science Museum's Reclamation Project, was one of 40 individuals nationwide selected as a 2010 TogetherGreen Fellow ( Supported by a conservation alliance of Audubon and Toyota, the TogetherGreen Fellowship offers specialized training in conservation planning and the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals nationwide. Miami Science Museum will receive $10,000 which will be used to expand the Reclamation Project's participatory eco-art outreach which engages Miami residents to restore fragmented mangrove wetlands along our coastline. Mangroves not only provide habitat for marine and land based flora and fauna but cleanse coastal waters, act as a coastal buffer from storms and absorb greenhouse gases. Read more...

The Reclamation Project/Native Flags
A collaborative eco-art intervention by Miami artist, Xavier Cortada.

About the Project:

The Reclamation Project explores our ability to coexist with the natural world by focusing on the importance of mangroves to our ecosystem. For a few months, mangrove seedlings collected by volunteers will be exhibited in plastic water-filled cups in the coastal community where they thrived just a few decades ago. Similar installations and educational outreach efforts will also take place inside several schools. Afterwards, volunteers plant the seedlings along Biscayne Bay. See

Native Flags is an urban reforestation project presented by the Reclamation Project at the Miami Science Museum. Cortada developed it to help restore native habitats for plants and animals across South Florida. Participating residents are asked to plant one of 12 native tree saplings alongside the green project flag in their yard and state: "I hereby reclaim this land for nature." (On the back of the flag, they are invited to write things they commit to do to help our environment). The project's conspicuous green flags serve as a catalyst for conversations with neighbors, who will be encouraged to join the effort to help rebuild our native tree canopy. Flags and saplings are available at the museum gift shop. See

About the Exhibit:

An installation of over 1,111 mangrove seedlings is currently on exhibit in the Wildlife Center at the Miami Science Museum, where the Reclamation Project is now based. All visitors are welcome to experience it during regular museum hours. The museum is open all year around - except Thanksgiving and Christmas - from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Reclamation Project was launched by the artist on Earth Day 2006, during the opening of a month-long installation at the Bass Museum of Art. In its inaugural year, volunteers distributed 2,500 seedlings across South Beach.

As part of this year's intervention, the seedlings are on display in dozens of retail stores across South Beach through January 20, 2008. Their reforestation - along with those at the museum, will create a mangrove colony on Biscayne Bay, eventually rebuilding natural ecosystems above and below the water line. According to Cortada, "The Reclamation Project aims to remind us of what our community was like before all the concrete was poured." For more information, please visit,

About the Artist:

Xavier Cortada has worked with groups across the world to produce numerous large-scale collaborative art projects - including eco-art installations on Miami Beach and in the South Pole. The Miami artist has been commissioned to create art for the White House, the World Bank, the Florida Governor's Mansion, the Florida Supreme Court, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Florida History and the South Pole Station. For more information, please visit


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