FGCU alumnus and family establish apparel company to support mangrove habitat

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

An FGCU alumnus and his twin brother are working to ensure an important plant species in Florida and natural environments worldwide remains thriving. The idea was realized in Southwest Florida, and the brothers made it possible on the east coast of the state and overseas. Now, they hope to return to their roots and make an impact within local ecosystems that benefit from the natural barrier this plant species provides.

Brothers Kyle and Keith Rossin established MANG, a fishing apparel company the two spearheaded to maintain and restore crucial mangrove habitat in Southwest Florida.

“You can see some small red mangroves and white mangroves and black mangroves,” said Kyle, the CEO of MANG. “My Aunt Sheri does our pen and pencil drawings. And, then, my brother, Keith, comes in and does a lot of the artwork for the graphic design.”

How it works: “You buy one shirt, you buy one hat, you buy one sticker, we plant one mangrove,” Kyle said.

Kyle told us the idea for this initiative began locally at FGCU’s Vester Field Station.

“A good buddy of mine, we were staring at a stand of mangroves,” Kyle said. “And he liked the idea of doing a mangrove camouflage.”

MANG was born, and it was all in effort to restore mangroves and raise awareness about the species’ environmental importance.

“We grow them up in our nursery in West Palm Beach,”” Kyle said. “From there, they grow up for about two years. Once they hit the two-year range, they either get upgraded into larger pods, or they go out into the wild.”

The mangroves are planted in the wild to reinforce coastlines, a natural role mangroves fulfill.

Kyle and Keith both hope to bring their environmental efforts to Southwest Florida.

“We’ve achieved projects in the Florida Keys and the greater Palm Beach County,” Kyle said. “We’re looking to expand into Sanibel Island. For instance, we’re working with partners on Sanibel to hopefully get some projects going here on the west coast.”

They’ve also planted mangroves in Africa and Central America to restore and protect natural environments worldwide.

“Mangroves are keystone to our ecosystems,”” Kyle said. “They provide habitats for our birds, fish and aquatic species.”

For more information, see the MANG mission page.

The brothers perform a labor of love to leave a lasting impact on the world’s ecosystems.

“Change the world one mangrove at a time, not to be cliché,” Kyle said. “But to really give an understanding to people that mangroves are an important species. But to inspire, say, someone else to do something else out in the world. I think is kind of my deeper mission.”

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