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Florida Botanical Gardens Permanent Eco-Art Installations
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4/18/2009 to 12/31/2010
When: 04/18/2009
Where: Florida Botanical Gardens (Pinellas County)
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, Florida  34994

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Xavier Cortada 

Reclamation Project (Coastal Reforestation) "Re-permanent” Installation

Location:  Exterior Wall, Wedding Garden


"Re-permanent Installation” of 150 red mangrove propagules in water-filled, clear, plastic cups suspended by a clip and arranged in a grid on the wall. 

Medium and Description of Materials:  

150 red mangrove propagules in water-filled, clear, plastic cups suspended by a clip and arranged in a grid on the wall.

Special Methods Utilized in Execution of Artwork:

At the beginning of every school year, have students from Shorecrest Preparatory School in Pinellas County remove the 150 seedlings from the wall.  They will plant them under the direction of Dr. Tom Smith, USGS, at Weedon Island Nature Preserve.  Under his guidance, they will collect another 150 propagules and bring them back to the Florida Botanical Gardens. . Students will place one propagule inside each cup as they state, "I hereby reclaim this land for nature.”  Botanical Garden staff will keep the cups filled with water until the following September when a new class of students return to repeat the process that will help rebuild ecosystems above and below the waterline.

The Reclamation Project explores our ability to coexist with the natural world.  It reminds us of what our community looked like before all the concrete was poured.

--Xavier Cortada, artist


Every year, Reclamation Project volunteers collect red mangrove seedlings from nature preserves and place them at the re-permanent installation in the Florida Botanical Gardens, symbolically "reclaiming" urban areas that once flourished with mangrove forests.

Mangroves are important for they create the interface between land and water where marine life takes hold.  Small fish find refuge from predators in their intricate roots, which also serve to protect the shoreline from erosion during hurricanes.

The Reclamation Project installation at the Florida Botanical Gardens displays 150 mangrove seedlings in clear, water-filled cups.  They will grow there for a year until they are ready to be reforested.  At that time, another 150 seedlings will be nurtured in this re-permanent nursery.

These Red Mangrove seedlings, as well as those displayed by project volunteers elsewhere in the County, will be planted by volunteers along Tampa Bay.

For  more information please visit



Xavier Cortada

Growing Our Native Canopy 1
Bald Cypress, Red Cedar, Slash Pine)

Pigment Print on Somerset Velvet

Edition 1 of 1

24” x 84”



Xavier Cortada photographed the leaves of native trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens.  He then digitally manipulating the images and printed them with on Somerset velvet to create this original one of a kind digital painting.  The work references the Reclamation Project’s urban reforestation eco-art project.  The participatory art project was implemented by Cortada in partnership with the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society at the Florida Botanical Gardens to help restore native habitats for plants and animals.  See



Xavier Cortada

Growing Our Native Canopy 2
Green Buttonwood, Red Maple, Seagrape)

Pigment Print on Somerset Velvet

Edition 1 of 1

24” x 84”



This one of a kind digital painting was created by artist Xavier Cortada to celebrate the planting of 750 native trees in Pinellas County through the Reclamation Project. The work highlights the six native species featured in the eco-art effort’s urban reforestation campaign.  During 2009, participating residents were asked to plant a native tree alongside the green project flag in their front yard and state: "I hereby reclaim this land for nature."  The project's conspicuous green flags served as a catalyst for conversations with neighbors, who were encouraged to join the effort and help rebuild their native tree canopy one yard at a time.  See


 2004 - 2013


Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.

FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
FIU College of Architecture + The Arts
Miami Beach Urban Studios
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 440
Miami Beach, FL 33139

 Reclamation Project 



Native Flags

The Reclamation Project and Native Flags are participatory eco-art projects by FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Artist-in-Residence Xavier Cortada.  

In South Florida, they are presented in coordination with our project partners:

FIU Office of University Sustainabiity
MDC Earth Ethics Institute

Copyright 2006-2013 
Xavier Cortada