Coastal Watch held two virtual workshops in January to introduce its newest conservation and education initiative, “Back to Our Roots,” which invites residents to adopt and raise their own mangrove. Two more workshops are scheduled for February.
Workshop participants learned about the role mangroves play in Southwest Florida’s marine ecosystem, including their importance to wildlife and how they aid in coastal storm protection. Coastal Watch’s conservation initiative coordinator, Kealy McNeal, also discussed the common species of mangroves endemic to Sanibel—red, black, and white mangroves —and their distinguishing characteristics.
“During our workshops, we dove into mangrove education so that participants understand the importance of this project,” said McNeal. “Our goal is to create mangrove advocates across our islands to encourage conservation of these important trees.”
The workshops concluded with information on how participants can adopt their own mangroves to grow at home. McNeal shared several methods to grow mangrove propagules at home and offered tips on how to ensure they thrive.
After the workshop, participants picked up starter kits that include soil, a one-gallon planting pot, and a red mangrove propagule. After participants raise their propagules, Coastal Watch will collect them to be planted at a local restoration site near Sanibel or Captiva later this year.
Coastal Watch will be hosting two additional workshops in February for those interested in participating in this educational restoration project. The next virtual workshops are scheduled for: Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6pm, and Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1pm. Registration opens Feb. 1.