• Colleen Flanigan Featured in National Media for Her Work with Coral Reefs

    York School Alumna – Featured in August Issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

    National media has caught on to an innovative project undertaken by York School alumna, Colleen Flanigan, whose art and conservation project is featured in this month’s addition of O, The Oprah Magazine. Flanigan, 43, an artist, ocean lover, and TED senior fellow, is melding art and environmental conservation in an effort to revive the world’s coral reefs.

    Using Biorock, a trademarked technology developed in the 1970s, Flanigan is repopulating threatened coral reefs by creating sculptures, installing them underwater, and then introducing coral fragments to the sculpture. The process involves low volt DC electricity to increase pH locally, attracting calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide minerals that deposit onto a metal matrix. Corals then readily cement to this natural substrate, helping to generate coral nurseries.

    In 2003, Flanigan attended a sustainable ecological architecture conference in Oakland, CA, where she learned about Biorock, a creative interdisciplinary method to help dying coral reefs. Before this, she did not know corals were dying due to pollution, climate change, overfishing, and tourism, with scientists estimating that most will be threatened by 2050.

    Determined to help heal corals, and with a background in metal arts and design, Flanigan began working with Biorock mineral accretion. In 2004, her first sculpture was installed in Pemuteran, Bali 20 feet below. Almost a decade later, the sculpture is a thriving part of the world’s largest coral nursery, now nearly 1,000 feet long.

    Currently, Flanigan is working to install ZOE, a 15′ x 9′ x 6′ sculpture, inspired by the DNA double helix and made of curved steel that will be lowered into the shallow waters of MUSA, an underwater museum in Cancun, Mexico.

    The creation process – Flanigan welding ZOE

    The creation process – Flanigan welding ZOE

     

    ZOE in Cancun, Mexico

    ZOE in Cancun, Mexico

    The result – Coral Skirt, Bali, 2013

    The result – Coral Skirt, Bali, 2013

    The result – Coral Skirt, Bali, 2014

    The result – Coral Skirt, Bali, 2014

    posted to Cedar Street Times on August 20, 2014

    Topics: Front PG News, Green

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