Teen Plants Hundreds of Trees To Replace Those Trampled During Hurricane Irma
"After Hurricane Irma ravaged the South Florida landscape in 2017, an 18-year-old took it upon himself to protect and preserve the environment – and he did it from the roof of his house.
Though the tropical storm wreaked havoc on buildings and properties, Theo Queenee was primarily shocked by how many mangroves had been damaged by the tropical storm.
Mangroves are an essential part of a marine eco-system. In addition to providing a healthy and complex habitat for fish, sharks, and turtles, they also protect the coastline from erosion.
”After the hurricane there was a massive amount of [mangrove] seedlings mixed within the seaweed/debris mixture,” Queenee told Mother Nature Network. “Everything was then going to be gathered and thrown in a truck to dump at a landfill. I realized that all of South Florida would ultimately kill thousands of mangroves in the clean-up process.”
As a means of rehabilitating the local mangrove forests, Queenee started growing mangrove seedlings from the roof of his home.
Queenee, who is a freshman at Florida International University, built a greenhouse on his roof so the little trees could get a sufficient amount of sunlight and humidity. Then, he filled the greenhouse with 524 seedlings that were separated into individual yogurt buckets.
After seven months of nursing the seedlings, Queenee and his friends moved the plants to a mud flat in Miami where they will soon grow into a healthy mangrove forest.
“Some officials passed me when I was planting them, and they were so happy to see me doing this,” Quenee told MNN. “My hope in doing so was to create a nursery for all the sharks and fish that live in that location, but also help conserve the area from erosion.”