DEP, Fabien Cousteau and Students Celebrate Florida Mangrove Day

Created: 9/30/2010 1:37:07 PM Updated: 12:00:00 AM

CONTACT:  DEP Press Office (850) 245-2112
Plant A Fish (202) 445-3404

~Event raises awareness of conservation and restoration of Florida’s aquatic life and habitats~

HOLLYWOOD – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and founder of Plant A Fish today celebrated Florida Mangrove Day with students from the Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration magnet school program at South Plantation High. About 75 students, in partnership with Plant A Fish, took to the beach at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park to harvest approximately 1,000 propagules, or mangrove seeds that will be grown in a nursery environment at South Plantation High School.

With the goal of learning the importance of mangroves to Florida aquaculture and aquatic life, the students will grow the propagules in a nursery environment within their school for one to two years, and then return the mangroves to their natural habitat as part of a restoration project.

“As Floridians, it is important to protect our aquatic resources and empower and support local communities in their conservation efforts,” said DEP Deputy Secretary Jennifer Fitzwater. “Our environment is the backbone to Florida’s way of life and today’s event helps ensure residents and visitors can enjoy our state’s natural landscapes.”

Governor Charlie Crist issued a proclamation declaring October 1, 2010 as Florida Mangrove Day. The idea of a Mangrove Day initiative developed from the partnership between Plant A Fish, a non-profit organization focused on education, empowerment and restoration, and the Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration magnet school program at South Plantation High. The Plant A Fish program model focuses on building partnerships, such as DEP’s Division of Recreation and Parks, for the restoration and preservation of mangroves and coral reefs located in Florida.

“Plant A Fish is excited to partner with the Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration magnet school program at South Plantation High and DEP’s Division of Recreation and Parks on the inaugural Mangrove Day event. Our mission is to educate and empower local communities to play an active role in the restoration of the oceans for future generations. Florida Mangrove Day affords us the opportunity to take such steps and also highlight the particular importance of the role mangroves play in Florida’s delicate aquatic ecosystems,” said Fabien Cousteau, founder of Plant A Fish.

Mangroves are one of Florida's true natives. They thrive in salty environments because they are able to obtain freshwater from saltwater. Florida's estimated 469,000 acres of mangrove forests contribute to the overall health of the state's southern coastal zone. Mangroves are a distinctive ecosystem that provide protected nursery areas for fish, crustaceans and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oysters and shrimp. Healthy mangrove forests support Florida's important recreational and commercial fisheries.

About the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP):
DEP is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. DEP enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally-sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves. For more information about the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, visit

About Florida State Parks:
Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Park system has grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit   

About South Plantation High School:
The Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration Magnet Program at South Plantation High School serves to facilitate a consortium of public and private institutions dedicated to restoring and maintaining the Everglades and the South Florida ecosystems at a sustainable level. The magnet program began in 2001 and offers environmentally focused courses such as Botany, Humanities, Marine Science, Solar/Alternative Energy, Limnology and Zoology. Service learning is important in the magnet program and students take part in environmental initiatives throughout the school year. For more information about the Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration magnet program please contact or

About Plant A Fish:
Plant A Fishis a newly-launched nonprofit, headquartered in New York City, by third-generation ocean explorer and environmental advocate, Fabien Cousteau, whose mission is to empower communities to become involved with responsible ‘re-planting’ of key marine species in their local habitats in distressed bodies of water around the world. Initial targeted projects in 2010-2011 will include responsible re-planting of mangroves in South Florida, oysters in the New York Harbor, sea turtles in El Salvador and corals in the Maldives. For more information, please visit

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