Guest Blog by Ryan Moralevitz
I was inspired to start this project because I really love the ocean and at my favorite beach this past year they lost a ton of their sand and they did a beach nourishment. It made me want to help. So when I found out about the grant opportunity, I knew I wanted to build a mangrove garden!
First, I collected donated mangrove seedlings from the Florida Aquarium, which I put in buckets with mud and ocean water. Then my dad built a wooden structure to hold the buckets. Next, he carved out a wooden crab from a drawing I made and I took it to school. At school the kids had already donated used plastic bottle caps and toys and together we made a recycled, crab piece of art to hang. It makes the garden look really cool!
Because we were allowed to set the garden up at my school a lot of kids have been asking questions and have wanted to help with the project which is really neat.
I am currently helping to plan a field trip to plant the mangroves this year locally since our beach can use them. This project has taught me that it feels good to give back to the community and get other people involved.
The Fishes Wishes Mangrove Garden was funded by a Youth Ocean Conservation Team mini-grant awarded after Ryan’s participation in the 2015 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in Sarasota, FL. Thanks to our partners at the Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico program for their support of this effort.