Friday, August 01, 2008

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

It was sometime in 1990 or early 1991 when I began reading about the Everglades for a research project I did as a part of my work in graduate school.. It did not take long for me to hear the name Marjory Stoneman Douglas in connection with the Everglades. I don't remember where I first heard her name, it may have been someone from the Everglades National Park. Not that it matters.

She wrote a book, first published in 1947, called The Everglades: River of Grass. I was urged to read the book. I found a copy at my University's library and read it. I later picked up a revised edition (1987) with an afterward, from the Everglades National Park Service.

The Friends of the Everglades was founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, you might want to check out their bio of her here. Their mission is to protect and restore the Everglades.

At the time I did my research, I had never been to the Everglades. In reading her book, especially her first chapter, the Everglades came alive to me. She had the gift of painting a wonderful visual picture of the 'Glades. Her first sentence is poignant:

There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, never wholly known. (Stoneham Douglas, 1987, p.5)

I felt her sadness as she told of the destruction of large portions of her beloved 'Glades. It was her advocacy on behalf of the 'Glades that was, in large measure, responsible for the establishment of the Everglades National Park in 1947. She died at the age of 108 in the late 1998.

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