Adopt-A-Mangrove Program

Program Background

Mangroves are an integral part of our environment. They are a vital source of energy, provide a nursery habitat for juvenile fish, a nesting habitat for wading birds, stabilize shorelines by reducing erosion, provide water quality management, and are a buffer against storm damage. Many people are familiar with these iconic trees, but few may understand how tightly linked they are to the marine ecosystem in Southwest Florida.

Coastal Watch's goal with this program is to teach the value of mangroves on our islands through community involvement. Through this education initiative, “Adopt-A-Mangrove,” Coastal Watch is inviting residents to “adopt” their own mangrove to nurture at their homes.

Our goal for our participants and community is to instill a deeper understanding and appreciation of mangroves in Southwest Florida. We’re inviting community members to participate! We will be distributing starter kits so that participants can grow a mangrove at home until it is ready to be planted at a local restoration site during a community planting event later this year.

We Need You!

Are you ready to make a difference in your community and protect our beautiful shoreline? Coastal Watch invites you to take part in our exciting Adopt-A-Mangrove program. By "adopting" mangroves and nurturing them in your own homes, you can contribute to the restoration of our local ecosystems. The mangroves you care for will eventually be returned to SCCF and planted at one of our shoreline restoration sites later this year.

If you're eager to become a proud "Mangrove Mama" or a dedicated "Propagule Papa," mark your calendars for these upcoming Adopt-A-Mangrove events! SCCF will provide you with the mangrove seedling, soil, and a pot to get you started.

Coastal Watch Director, Kealy McNeal, emphasizes the importance of this initiative:

"It's undeniable that mangroves played a crucial role in protecting Sanibel during Hurricane Ian, and unfortunately, several mangroves throughout the area were lost and need to be restored. The Adopt-A-Mangrove program is just the beginning of the process to restore our shorelines."

Join us in preserving the beauty of Sanibel's coastlines – one mangrove at a time.

Adopt-A-Mangrove is done for the 2023 season, please stay tuned for your turn to adopt next year.

The time has come to bring your mangrove babies back!

Mangroves can be dropped off at SCCF Headquarters at any time!

***If you are a full-time resident, feel free to wait until our next Adoption Day in the fall to exchange your babies. Just email us and let us know!

Our Adopted Mangroves

Check out the map below to see where our baby mangroves are being taken care of in homes all across Southwest Florida.

FAQs

Why are mangroves important?

Mangroves help stabilize Florida’s coastline ecosystem and reduce erosion. Mangroves provide natural infrastructure to help protect nearby populated areas by reducing erosion and absorbing storm surge impacts during extreme weather events such as hurricanes.  

They are also important to the ecosystem. Their dense roots help bind and build soils. Their above-ground roots slow down water flows and encourage sediment deposits that reduce coastal erosion.

The complex mangrove root systems filter nitrates, phosphates, and other pollutants from the water, improving the water quality flowing from rivers and streams into the estuarine and ocean environment.

Mangrove forests capture massive amounts of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and then trap and store them in their carbon-rich flooded soils for millennia. 

Mangrove forests also provide habitat and refuge to a wide array of wildlife such as birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and plants.
 
Mangrove forests provide nature experiences for people such as birding, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and the therapeutic calm and relaxation that comes from enjoying a peaceful time in nature. They also provide economic benefits to communities as a nursery for commercial fish stocks.
How do I take care of my mangrove?

Water – Mangroves live in water so you can’t overwater them, however, it is possible to under water them. To prevent this from happening, make sure the soil is wet at all times.

Sunlight – Keep the mangroves in a warm place where they will receive bright, indirect light, partial sun, or full sun. Bear in mind that the water will evaporate more rapidly when it is in full sun.

When do I return my mangroves?

Part-time residents – Before you head up north please drop your mangroves at the Bailey Homestead Preserve. When you come back in the fall, we will give you brand-new mangroves to care for.

Full-time residents – We ask that you grow your mangroves to be 12” – 16” in height before you return them, (a plant this height should have 6 - 10 leaves) It usually takes 9 - 12 months to get to the desired height.

More questions?

For any questions or additional information, please don't hesitate to reach out to Kealy McNeal at kmcneal@sccf.org.

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