The Reclamation Project: Plan(T)ing for the Future


The Reclamation Project: Plan(T)ing for the Future

Building upon the overwhelming response to his 2006 Reclamation Project, where the community has since planted acres of mangroves in Biscayne Bay, environmental artist and University of Miami Professor of Practice Xavier Cortada’s new proactive, socially-charged project will encourage residents across Miami-Dade County to plant the saltwater mangrove propagules in their yards to help combat saltwater intrusion and prepare for sea-level rise.   

We need to start “plan(T)ing” for the future. With sea-levels rising, one of the biggest hurdles will be saltwater intrusion into the aquifer, affecting the water we drink and use for our landscapes and agriculture. In the decades to come, much of our non salt-tolerant tree canopy will die.  

The Reclamation Project: Plan(T)ing the Future project, which will include an exhibition during Art Basel 2019, asks homeowners to plant mangrove propagules, or seedlings, which can withstand the test of time and help serve as storm buffers. Planting salt tolerant mangroves in high ground will help to safeguard vulnerable areas of our city and provide future seed stock for areas surrendered to rising seas. 

Similar to last year’s “Underwater HOA,” in which Cortada engaged concerned citizens to become problem solvers on sea-level rise, the new project focuses on raising awareness and building community, including involving students at local schools in the “mangrove in every yard” reforestation effort. 

The exhibition will take place in the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens during Art Basel 2019, featuring a wall of mangrove propagules. Cortada’s original drawings for the Miami Mangrove Forest, his 2004 participatory public art project that helped launch the Reclamation Project, will also be on display. 

The project and exhibition will be co-presented in collaboration with the following community partners: University of Miami Abess Center for Ecosystem Policy and Science, (list in formation).  

Xavier Cortada