FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Project Seahorse presents:
Seahorses: Magical Creatures in Our Backyard
They are fantastical-looking, charismatic and peculiar creatures, and they can be found in South Florida’s backyard. Seahorses and pipefish make their home in mangroves, seagrasses, estuaries, and reefs, like those found in the Biscayne National Park, and are flagship species for a wide range of marine conservation issues.
Project Seahorse, an international marine conservation group, is running a six-week outreach and awareness-building program focused on the conservation of these species in South Florida. The program will launch with an exhibit of paintings by Miami-based artist Xavier Cortada on April 6, 2017 at Pinecrest Gardens.
“Through art, we help communities visualize themselves as change agents, and I paint seahorses to draw viewers in,” said Cortada. “I want to engage them as environmental stewards and I want them to engage in eco-actions. I want them to make a personal commitment to help protect seahorse habitats from environmental degradation and the impacts of global climate change.”
“Blending art and science is a multidisciplinary approach, and can truly build the awareness necessary for meaningful conservation gains,” said Dr. Amanda Vincent, Director of Project Seahorse and Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia. “It is a hallmark of our work and Project Seahorse is thrilled to be working with Miami-based artist Xavier Cortada and the H.W. Hoover Foundation on this campaign to raise South Floridians’ awareness of the magical creatures in their backyard.”
“Seahorses lead extraordinary lives; they are important predators on bottom-dwelling organisms, some species are seasonally monogamous, and along with pipefish are the only animals in which the males become pregnant. Unfortunately they are also particularly threatened by changes in coastal ecosystems,” said Vincent.
Water quality issues, plastics and other marine debris, as well as habitat damage from boats, jet skis and other watercraft, threaten the seahorse species (like the lined seahorse and the dwarf seahorse) that can be found in the Biscayne National Park and South Florida’s coastal waters. Throughout April and May, Project Seahorse graduate student and researcher Emilie Stump will be educating South Floridians about seahorses, pipefish and other synathids, the threats they face, and what you can do to help protect their habitats.
“We believe sharing knowledge of our local magical creatures, like the seahorses, will help educate and inspire people to understand and care for this beautiful and fragile Park upon which our own health depends,” said Caiti Pomerance, Program & Outreach Director, for the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, which is supporting Project Seahorse’s research and awareness-building project. “Similar to the seahorses, our own well-being is dictated by Biscayne National Park’s water quality and ability to maintain seagrasses, mangroves, and coral reefs. By drawing the connection between the condition of our local seahorses, the state of Biscayne National Park, and our own personal health, we hope to evolve initial compassion for our seahorses into lasting positive action for this unique National Park.”
Launch Event and Exhibit Opening
The launch of Project Seahorse’s outreach campaign and the exhibit official opening of Xavier Cortada’s Seahorses exhibit will take place at Pinecrest Gardens on April 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm. Tickets: http://seahorses.www.eventbrite.ca
Other Outreach Activities
A full listing of the public events can be found: http://www.projectseahorse.org/bnp-seahorses-events/
Xavier Cortada serves as Artist-in-Residence at FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society and the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts. The Miami artist has created environmental installations (North Pole and South Pole), eco-art projects (Taiwan, Hawaii and Holland), and community murals addressing peace (Cyprus and Northern Ireland), child welfare (Bolivia and Panama), AIDS (Switzerland and South Africa) and juvenile justice concerns (Miami and Philadelphia). Cortada has developed multi-year participatory eco-art efforts to reforest mangroves, native trees and wildflowers across Florida. See www.cortada.com for more information.
Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 S Red Rd, Pinecrest, FL 33156
“Pinecrest Gardens and the Village of Pinecrest are excited to host Xavier Cortada’s Seahorses exhibit and to support Project Seahorse’s Magical Creatures in our Backyard initiative. As South Florida’s Cultural Arts Park, the use of thought-provoking art that inspires conversation and conservation is both effective and befitting of who we are.”
Project Seahorse is a marine conservation group based at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and at the Zoological Society of London. Project Seahorse works to protect seahorses to support ocean conservation more broadly, generating cutting-edge research and using it to inform highly effective conservation interventions.
Herbert W. Hoover Foundation
This campaign is made possible through the generous support of the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation. The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation takes a leadership role in funding unique opportunities that provide solutions to issues related to the community, education, and the environment.