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Coastal Eco-art: Understand the Art


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

This participatory eco-art project was launched by Miami artist Xavier Cortada on Earth Day 2006, during the opening of a month-long installation at the Bass Museum of Art (see archives). In this inaugural year, 2,500 red mangrove seedlings were adopted by retail businesses across South Beach. In subsequent years, volunteers have collected seedlings from various Miami-Dade County locations where they would otherwise have perished and distributed them to retail and commercial businesses in South Beach, schools and the science museum.

Annually, the Reclamation Project plants thousands of mangroves on our bay, rebuilding ecosystems above and below the water line.

Mangrove "Reclamation" and Reforestation
Every year, Reclamation Project volunteers collect mangrove seedlings from nature preserves and distribute them across the community, 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.  Biscayne Bay was once lined with mangroves.  Today, there are few places where mangrove seedlings can take root on Biscayne Bay because it has been  barricaded by man-made barriers such as sea walls and development.

he Reclamation Project installation at the Miami Science Museum displays over 1,100 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 1,100 seedlings will be nurtured in this re-permanent nursery.

These Red Mangrove seedlings, as well as those displayed in retail locations across South Beach, will be planted by volunteers along Biscayne Bay.

** CLICK HERE to download Coastal Reforestation PDF

Participating Schools:

Several South Florida schools have joined in the coastal reforestation effort.  To bring the Reclamation Project's mangrove installations to your school (Miami-Dade County only), please contact:

Lisa Krimsky, Ph.D.
Florida Sea Grant Agent
Miami-Dade County
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149

[email protected]
305-421-4017 (office)
305-421-4674 (fax)
 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