MANG and Brevard Zoo Partner to Restore Indian River Lagoon
New partnership focuses on mangrove collection, restoration, and education
For years, Brevard Zoo’s conservation team has been answering the call to restore one of the U.S.’s most biodiverse estuaries: the Indian River Lagoon. Now, MANG is answering that call as well, partnering with the Zoo’s conservation team to collect, grow, and plant mangroves in the Lagoon. To support the restoration of living coastlines in this vital piece of Florida’s ecosystem, MANG and the Brevard Zoo have launched an exclusive Restore Our Shores apparel collection, with 10% of all proceeds from the collection directly funding their collaborative restoration efforts.
“Every ecosystem has a heartbeat, and in the case of Florida’s coastline, mangroves, oysters and seagrass are keystone ecological species,” says Kyle Rossin, MANG CEO and co-founder. “MANG and Brevard Zoo understand the heartbeat of Florida’s ecosystem, and we’re so honored to be partnering with such an incredible organization who has been on the ground rebuilding coastlines in Brevard County for years. Together, we will continue fighting to restore the Indian River Lagoon for our future generations.”
Understanding the interconnectedness of plant and animal life is at the center of MANG and the Zoo’s environmental restoration, and it is the creative concept that together inspired the apparel collection, as well. Jody Palmer, Director of Conservation at Brevard Zoo, said, “The team behind MANG are true conservation heroes, and those are the types of organizations I strive to support in my personal and professional purchases. When given the opportunity for my department at Brevard Zoo to partner with MANG, I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough.”
MANG will not only be supporting the Zoo’s restoration efforts directly, but also growing mangroves at the MANG nursery for future planting projects. “Our partnership is a way to bring about real conservation action,” said Brevard Zoo Conservation Curator Ashley Rearden. “The Zoo is a drop off location for mangrove propagules, and MANG will pick them up to grow at their headquarters in West Palm Beach for use in future Indian River Lagoon restoration projects, many of which are facilitated by Brevard Zoo. It really is a great partnership for both organizations.”
Over the last 50 years, the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) has become so polluted that the increased levels of nutrients, runoff and nitrogen have killed seagrasses, created algae blooms, and destroyed biodiversity. The IRL actually comprises 40% of Florida’s eastern coastline, which makes the lagoon’s water quality and biodiversity a critical component of Florida’s overall environmental health. By partnering together to focus on mangrove restoration, the Zoo and MANG will be able to have a larger impact on holistic ecological restoration in Brevard County and Florida at large. Brevard Zoo has actively been cultivating living coastlines of oyster beds, mangroves and sea grasses for years, working to reverse decades of human and environmental impact on the lagoon.
In addition to mangrove restoration, MANG is also working with the Zoo’s conservation team to educate the public about the importance of mangroves and lay a foundation for growing and planting these life-saving mangroves. Mangroves are the number one carbon sequestration tree in the world, and habitat for up to 70% of marine life in areas where they grow. They also are vital in protecting against shoreline erosion. By helping students and adults alike to understand the critical role mangroves play in Florida’s ecosystem—and in ecosystems around the globe—there is a chance to restore the health and biodiversity of our shores for future generations.
“My job requires long hours in the field, subjected to a variety of weather conditions. Field gear can be the difference between a pleasant, productive day and a miserable day full of sunburns, bug bites and heat exhaustion. When shopping for the right field clothes, I came across MANG and instantly loved their passion for Florida’s diverse ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Palmer. The Restore Our Shores Collection will be featured through June 30, 2021. Every purchase from the collection plants a mangrove through MANG’s Buy One. Plant One.® initiative, and 10% of all proceeds from the Restore Our Shores collection goes directly to the combined planning and education efforts with the Brevard Zoo’s conservation team.
MANG was founded in South Florida in 2015 by twin brothers Keith and Kyle Rossin. Born from a passion for environmental restoration with its Buy One. Plant One.® initiative, MANG plants one mangrove for every product purchased. Through analysis of economic and social impact to communities in the U.S. and abroad, MANG seeks out coastal ecosystems deemed to be the most in need for mangrove restoration. It has planted over 312,000 mangroves to date throughout Florida, the Bahamas, Madagascar, Africa, and the island of Guanaja, off the coast of Honduras. The impact of MANG’s efforts translate into 126 acres of mangrove forests restored worldwide, resulting in a $9.79 million ecosystem benefit and the sequestration of more than 882,000 lbs of blue carbon, otherwise known as the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. MANG’s commitment extends beyond social giveback, as they raise their own mangroves at their headquarters’ MANG nursery, and also lead educational programming for the next generation of Mini MANGs. For more on MANG, visit www.manggear.com/pages/our-mission.
All images copyright of MANG LLC, 2021
Image 1: Restore Our Shores and MANGdala UPF 50+ shirt designs
Image 2: The MANGdala design demonstrates how mangroves live in a commensal relationship with other flora and fauna around them. The design features animals native to Florida, including the jaguar, the Scrub-Jay, and the Perdido Key beach mouse.