Mangrove magic

Ruaridh, Neamh and Ishbel interview local fishermen and environmentalists at Las Penitas to find out about endangered mangroves and how to protect them.

Heading into the mangroves at Isla Juan Verado


Making mangroves by Ruaridh (6)

Mangroves are important because they clean the water. They help baby animals stay safe from big fish.

There are black, white and red mangroves. If you cut the bark off you will see the colour inside the mangroves.

Ruaridh and Ishbel patting the mud down around the seedlings


There are lots of animals inside the mangroves. I saw crabs, spiders, racoons, crocodiles and the black hawk.

I planted 8 mangroves. We dug a hole and put the mangroves in the hole then put mud on the mangroves.

My favourite mangroves is the red one.

Mangrove magic by Ishbel and Neamh (10 and 8)

On the 11th of March we got a boat to a nature reserve called Isla Juan Verado. This nature reserve is important because it’s made up of mangroves. The boat took us deep into the mangrove jungle. Once we had planted the mangroves, we had a chance to ask the local experts (Antonio and Rigo) some questions.



This is what they said:

  1. Why are mangroves important?

The mangroves’ roots make good nurseries for baby sea animals. The mangroves are a good filter system for cleaning the polluted water from Leon.

  1. What colour can mangroves be?

Mangroves can be red, black and white. If you take off the bark you can see the difference. The red mangrove is the most endangered. We planted the red mangroves.

  1. How long does it take for a mangrove to grow?

It takes 25 years for a mangrove to grow fully. That means they will be 25 metres. Then it starts getting wider.

  1. What animals live around mangroves?

The animals that live around mangroves are…racoons, crocodiles, shrimps, fish, black hawk, egrets, spiders, three coloured heron, green heron, pelican and crabs.

Can you spot the crocodile?


  1. How deep down does a mangrove root go?

The roots of mangroves spread out like a web rather than down. It goes 25cm down and one metre at the most.

  1. How much area do mangroves cover in Nicaragua?

Mangroves used to be 80% of the thick strip on the Pacific and Caribbean coast. Now the population of mangroves is 60%.  40% of mangroves around the world have been lost. The deforestation in Nicaragua has been aggressive. Mangroves are only a tiny part of Nicaragua but they are extremely important.

Neamh choosing the seedlings to plant


  1. How many mangroves are dying each year?

It could be as much as 500 mangroves being lost a day in this reserve. But it’s a guess. They cut the mangroves down for firewood or building materials.

  1. What can we do to help mangroves reproduce?

What we were told was to replant mangroves because it helps change our environment. We need to go back to our classrooms in our country and explain to our classmates how important it is to plant mangroves.

“You have planted a little bit of your heart and your soul here in these mangroves in Nicaragua. When you come back when you are grown up, you can say these are the trees I planted. Humans are the most destructive animals on the planet”.



  1. How do you plant mangroves?
  • Get about eight mangrove seedlings
  • Dig a hole near the other mangroves, in the mud.
  • Use your hands to pat a little bit of mud around the seedlings.
  • You plant seedlings in a group to protect them from washing away.

One thought on “Mangrove magic

  1. Thank you Ishbel, Neamh and Ruaridh. You blog was both interesting and informative. You have made us all aware how vital mangroves are to your friends in Nicaragua.
    No doubt you will be sorry to leave Nicaragua, but hey – you have more excitement ahead in Australia !! Enjoy time with your uncle and cousins. Much love, Davina

    Liked by 1 person

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