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Tampa Preparatory: Participating Students

During September 2008, students installed the Reclamation Project at Tampa Preparatory School.  The project aims  to help restore the Tampa Bay coastline by planting mangrove seedlings beginning in the spring of 2009.   The eco-art was designed by Xavier Cortada, and presents the mangrove seedlings in plastic cups of water, attached to windows, where they are cultivated until they are ready to be replanted on the coast.  The presence of the native mangroves where they can no longer grow will initiate interest and conversation, thus raising public awareness of the importance of the Tampa Bay wetlands.

Ideally, the students will gather the mangrove propagules again in September 2009 and bring them back to the Tampa Prep community where they will be cultivated until March 2010 . At that time, they will be replanted on the coast.  



Working with a scientist

Under the guidance of Dr. Tom Smith, Tampa Prep students will be gathering mangrove propagules from Weedon Island. Students will cultivate the propagules in plastic cups in places where mangroves once grew, but where they now have to be artificially sustained. These will also be places in which people will not expect to see them, thus sparking interest and educating the public about the importance of wetland restoration. Then, again with the support of Dr. Smith, students will replant the seedlings in places he feels are in need of mangroves.

Dr. Thomas J. Smith III
Dr. Smith is an ecologist and environmental scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. His areas of specialization include ecology and management of both wetland and terrestrial coastal ecosystems, wetlands hydrology, plant community ecology, influence of climate and climate change on the biota, ecology of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. His research activities include coordinating the South Florida Global Climate Change Project, a multi-investigator, interdisciplinary research effort aimed at understanding the response of coastal ecosystems in south Florida, particularly mangrove forests, to various global change scenarios. Personal research is aimed at understanding the response of coastal wetlands (mangroves, salt- and fresh water marshes), to both small scale (e.g., lightning strikes) and large scale (e.g., hurricanes) disturbances and potential interactions across scales.

Institution(s) / Organization(s):
United States Geological Survey (USGS), United States Department of the Interior

B.S. Zoology, University of Florida, FL, USA, 1976
M.S. Environmental Sciences (Ecology), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA, 1979
Ph.D. Environmental Sciences (Ecology and Climatology), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA, 1984

Area of Expertise / Interest:
Vegetation Dynamics; Climate Dynamics; Ecology; Environmental Science; Ecological Indicators; Habitat Loss; Restoration; Geographic Information Science (GIS); Modeling

Preferred Language:   English

Mailing Address:
U.S. Geological Survey
600 Fourth Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Telephone: +1 727-803-8747 ext. 3130
Fax: +1 727-803-2032

Home Page URL:

Links to Projects or Publications:
Creation of a Digital Archive of Historical Aerial Photographs for Everglades National Park and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem
Hydrologic Variation and Ecological Processes in the Mangrove Forests of South Florida: Response to Restoration
Understanding and Predicting Global Climate Change Impacts on the Vegetation and Fauna of Mangrove Forested Wetlands in Florida
Vegetation Dynamics in Land-Margin Ecosystems: The Mangroves of South Florida
Coastal Everglades Wetlands: Hydrology, Vegetation and Sediment Dynamics
Interrelation of Everglades Hydrology and Florida Bay Dynamics to Ecosystem Processes and Restoration in South Florida

 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