We hope to save the biggest U.S. coastal reef with 1000 Mermaids
Did you know that the biggest coastal reef in the U.S. is off the east coast of Florida? For many in Broward County, boating is a big part of the local lifestyle. If you’re like many here, you probably love being out on the water, enjoying the sun, playing in the surf, and all the glories of Mother Nature. In Fort Lauderdale, the salt life is a huge draw and certainly popular among residents and visitors alike.
In fact, did you know that Broward County gets more than 14 million visitors every year? It’s wonderful for our economy and jobs are booming. However, large volumes of people enjoying our natural resources can have a negative impact on the health of the ocean and on our natural reefs, in particular. A recent article in Science magazine outlines just how much destruction has been caused by many factors in recent years.
As boaters, we tend to care even more than most about water conservation, since it is close to our hearts. One solution, in the effort to keep our oceans healthy and beautiful, is the creation of artificial reefs. They can help tremendously by giving natural reefs time to recover, while providing a protective habitat for fish, lobsters, and a myriad of other kinds of marine life.
This is where the spectacular #1000mermaids Project comes in. It’s a public art installation that will also serve as an eco-friendly destination for underwater tourism.
The creators of the #1000 Mermaids project aim to bring awareness to the growing problems affecting our natural reefs, and they’re doing it in a novel way through art, which hopes to bring a lot of attention to this issue.
Here’s the gist: mermaids have long been a symbol of the ocean and our connection to it. That’s why the project plans to make 1000 mermaid sculptures and then place them, strategically, on the ocean floor, as an artificial reef art installation, with the help of local government environmental agencies. The planned locations for the artificial reef modules will work alongside the tour boat excursions off of Fort Lauderdale beach; people will be able to learn about the reefs and how to help while on these tours.
The mermaid sculptures are body casts created by artists Ernest Vasquez and Sierra Rasberry of Miami Body Cast Studio. They’ve been working with dozens of models, social influencers, and celebrities since 2015 and what began as a simple idea of turning the models into mermaids has now grown into a long-term project that will involve many, including volunteers, businesses, organizations, environmental agencies, local, and federal governments, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The goal is to create 1000 body sculptures which will sit on coral reef modules made by Christopher O’Hare and his company Reef Cells. These reef modules allow infant coral to adhere to them, with the goal of restoring Fort Lauderdale’s living coral reef population. Each cast and module and will be individually handcrafted by Miami Body Cast and Reef Cells, then located strategically along the ocean of Florida’s east coast. Not only does this project promote eco-friendly awareness and support for the ocean, it will also become the stage for a world-renowned snorkeling destination.
Interested in being a model or volunteer? Or want to be part of the dive team? If you’d like to get involved, you can learn more on their website. They’re seeking far more than monetary donations, although these are welcome, too! And make sure to stop by Pier Sixty –Six Marina to see the modules before they are placed in the water!
It’s a wonderful idea and cause and, hopefully, it will be successful, so all the residents of Broward can continue enjoying the oceans for generations to come.
To learn more, go to their website: https://1000mermaids.com/.
Author: Megan Lagasse at firstname.lastname@example.org