Christian Petrisko

Christian Petrisko
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Westminster Academy

Christian's non-profit, Wild Over Wildlife (WOW) is restoring native habitats. They aim to protect animals and the environment while engaging people of all ages in community service projects. WOW began the “No Mangrove = No Man” project in 2014. Although it is hard work to do the transplants, virtually anyone can gather propagules and nurture them. Mangroves protect communities from the destructive forces of nature while providing a shelter and a food source for birds, reptiles, and mammals. Aquatic species use mangroves as nurseries for their young. Additionally, mangroves absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide which combats global warming, helping the entire planet remain healthy. 

WOW has expanded the project exponentially from raising just a few hundred propagules to transplanting thousands of red mangrove seedlings. The first year, they worked with Florida International University and restored a mangrove forest on their Biscayne Bay campus. Then, they harvested more propagules from the Oleta River for the following year. Today, WOW has propagules growing in members’ back yards, in trays in science classrooms, and in vases on the desks of local businesses. “No Mangrove = No Man” has raised awareness throughout the community about the importance of mangroves. 

The “No Mangrove = No Man” movement has recently spread across the Atlantic to Africa. Christian is mentoring a restoration project in Kenya where WOW has been invited to assist with their first transplant. There, their affiliates hope to create mangrove forests to improve water purification, prevent erosion, and protect their region from flooding.

Scholarships Awarded: 2018 Captain Planet Earth Day Awards