South Florida native Theo Quenee saw the damage caused by Hurricane Irma firsthand and wanted to to something to help ensure the devastated mangroves on the shore would make a comeback. The National Ocean Service explains that mangroves help “stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion,” so the 18-year-old college freshman collected seeds around his home and grew plants to replace those lost by the storm.
Theo grew the 524 plants at his home for seven months, he even built a simple greenhouse to keep them happy. And when they were ready, he transplanted the mangroves to a sandbar and mudflat in Miami.
The Florida International University student is planning to pursue a career in videography and photography, but he’s still passionate about conservation. “In the future I also want to change the way we consume single-use plastics,” Theo explains, “and teach younger generations and communities how to properly conserve our environments.”