There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known.
~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Marjory Stoneman Douglas
(April 7, 1890 - May 14, 1998)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ opening words in her book, The Everglades: River of Grass, immortalize the beauty of the Everglades and the tenacity of its greatest defender.
Ms. Douglas was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Following a brief marriage, she moved to Miami in 1915 and began working for her father as a society reporter at the Miami Herald. In 1917, as World War I was raging in Europe, she became the first Florida woman to enlist in the Navy Reserve. After she was discharged, she focused on several causes, including feminism, racial equality, and conservation. She dedicated the rest of her life to protecting and restoring Florida’s natural ecosystems.
The Everglades: River of Grass was published in 1947, the same year Everglades National Park was dedicated. In 1969, Ms. Douglas created the Friends of the Everglades, a nonprofit organization devoted to raising awareness about Florida’s fragile wetlands.
In 1993, at the age of 103, Ms. Douglas was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for American civilians. Its inscription said, “An extraordinary woman who has devoted her long life to protecting the fragile ecosystem of the Everglades, and to the cause of equal rights for all Americans, Marjory Stoneman
Douglas personifies passionate commitment. Her crusade to preserve and restore the Everglades has enhanced our Nation’s respect for our precious environment, reminding all of us of nature’s delicate balance. Grateful Americans honor the “Grandmother of the Glades” by following her splendid example in safeguarding America’s beauty and splendor for generations to come.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas died in 1998 at the age of 108. Her legacy will be our preservation of her dream – to protect and restore her beloved River of Grass.