By Josephine Fuller, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Xavier Cortada, a University of Miami Professor of Practice and environmental artist is embarking on his latest public campaign called Plan(T), to try and have every resident of Miami to plant a mangrove seedling in their yards.
Cortada says that his newest project will consist of residents planting the saltwater-tolerant seedlings in order to prepare for inevitable sea-level rise. “Our water’s edge is no longer at the coastline, it’s at your feet and at the aquifer too,” he said.
His previous eco-art projects included a community art collaboration called Underwater HOA. He asked homeowners in the Village of Pinecrest to ask other homeowners in the greater Miami area to create painted yard signs featuring a blue wave and the sea level elevation of their homes in order to motivate local action on sea level rise.
Cortada explained that in the future as sea levels rise, the non-salt water-tolerant trees will not survive impacts from storm surge and saltwater intrusion. He is hoping that this project will offset the potential loss of those trees and other agriculture.
Along with the seedlings, a white flag with the property’s elevation height will also be placed next to it. “I plan to engage my fellow citizens and reframe the way that they think as they participate in this in innovative county-wide, urban forestation effort to help safeguard vulnerable areas of our city,” Cortada said.
Along with Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, Cortada and his team will collect mangrove propagules from local parks and harvest them as seedlings. They will be given to residents at the Pinecrest Garden’s Farmers Market on Sundays through January 12th. They will also be available at Miami-Dade public libraries until January 11th.
The Plan(T) project will also have an art exhibition in the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens. The garden is also planning the city’s first mangrove forest as part of an art piece for Art Basel this year.