On Wednesday April 14th, 90 Hialeah Elementary School students participated in a field trip to Deering Estate (http://www.deeringestate.com/pages/The-Reclamation-Project-Xavier-Cortada.aspx) where they learned about eco-art and urban reforestation. Deering Estate is the host of the Native Flags program. On the grounds of this historical estate is a Reclamation Project garden featuring 12 flags placed alongside wild specimens of the 12 Reclamation Project trees. The students were treated to a nature walk with staff naturalist Jessica Cabral through a tropical coastal hammock where they learned about Florida’s natural legacy. After the visit 40 Hialeah Elementary students adopted either a Florida privet (Forestiera segregata) or Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) sapling and a Native Flag. Each student will plant these saplings and flags at their homes and make the statement "I hereby reclaim this land for nature.”
On Monday April 19th, Principal Carolina Naverias led 80 additional students in planting a Paradise tree (Simarouba glauca) at a courtyard at Hialeah Elementary School. An additional 45 students adopted either a Green buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) or a Firebush (Hamelia patens) and Native Flag. In total, 85 Hialeah Elementary students adopted native South Florida saplings that will help reforest the City of Hialeah one sapling at a time.
Hialeah Elementary School was selected for its location in Hialeah, a municipality west of Miami with a relatively low canopy cover percentage of roughly 5-10% compared to the national urban average of 30%. By engaging students to restore Hialeah’s canopy one seedling at a time they play a direct role in reclaiming land for nature. The Reclamation Project received a grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs (www.miamidadearts.org) to provide this programming.