The Pinellas County Reclamation Project, is a participatory eco-art project developed by artist Xavier Cortada and commissioned the Pinellas County Public Art and Design Program.
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The Reclamation Project's urban reforestation component will be launched at Shorecrest Prep School in St. Petersburg, FL on January 27th, 2009 at 10 am. The school grounds will be reclaimed for nature as third and fourth graders plant an adult size Red Cedar (native) tree and large green project flag. NFL representatives (Jack Groh) and Native Plant Society officers will then join artist Xavier Cortada in distributing 60 project stick flags and native tree saplings to fourth graders, who will plant them in their front yards reclaiming them for nature. Students will encourage their neighbors to do the same. In the coming weeks another 240 native saplings and flags will be distirbuted to Shorecrest Prep students.
The trees distributed to students will be part of the NFL sanctioned planting to address climate change in the Super Bowl host community will be monitored by the NFL Environmental Program.
Residents are encouraged to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL see the adult specimens of the featured six native trees:
- Slash Pine
- Southern Red Cedar
- Red Maple
- Bald Cypress, and
- Green Buttonwood
Although it is based at the Florida Botanical Gardens, the project is being implemented through locally through the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, our community outreach partner tasked with keeping the project alive in the years to come. A total of 750 native tree saplings and green stick flags through the project to residents of Pinellas County during 2008-2009.
According to Cortada, "Through this eco-art effort, we are encouraging residents to regrow the community's native tree canopy one yard at a time."
On November 18, 2008, Cortada joined USGS's Dr. Tom Smith and the Shorecrest Prep students in dedicating the mangrove "re-permnanent" installation he created at the Florida Botanical Gardens.
The eco-art installation, commissioned by Pinellas County Public Art and Design Program, features one-hundred fifty red mangrove seedlings in clear water-filled cups. In September 2008, Dr. Smith led the Shorecrest Preparatory School students in collecting the mangrove propagules from Weedon Island Nature Preserve. In 2009, students will plant this installation's seedlings on Tampa Bay and replace them with a new batch.
Dr. Tom Smith, a scientist based at the U.S. Geological Service in St. Petersburg, FL, is internationally recognized as an expert on coastal ecosystems in general and mangroves in particular. He has worked in forests in Florida, the Virgin Islands, Belize, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere throughout Asia and the Pacific. His research is aimed at understanding disturbance, both natural and man-made, and recovery in these important forests and especially at how to restore them.
Xavier Cortada has worked with groups across the world to produce numerous large-scale collaborative art projects-- including eco-art installations on Miami Beach (2006), the South Pole (2007) and the North Pole (2008). The Miami artist has been commissioned to create art for the White House, the World Bank, the Florida Supreme Court, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, the Miami Art Museum, and the Museum of Florida History. For more information visit www.cortada.com
Cortada's eco-art work through the Reclamation Project is featured in Public Art Review:
Green Museum, by Allison Compton, Public Art Review, Issue 40, pp 52-55 (Spring/Summer 2009).