With the powerful words, "There are no other Everglades in the world," environmental crusader Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890–1998) celebrated Florida's beautiful...and fragile Everglades.
Her advocacy and the book, Everglades: River of Grass (1947) led to the establishment of Everglades National Park, more than 2 million protected acres.
Born on this day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Douglas graduated from Wellesley College and first arrived in Florida at age 25 to work on her father's newspaper, the Miami Herald. The state was in the midst of a development project to drain the "worthless swamp" Everglades for farmland and development.
With passion, she resolved to save "her river" by bringing public attention to the historical, biological, and philosophical magic of the region. With poetic grace, she celebrated the holy history and unique ecosystem--plants, birds, animals, and fish. Her writing and skill as a public speaker changed people's lives.
"The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and water, shining and slowly moving below," she wrote. "The grass and water...they were complete before man came to them."
In 1969, Douglas founded Friends of the Everglades. The group continues her lifelong fight to help restore and protect what remains of the wilderness. She said: "We've got to take care of what we have."
"The Everglades is a test," she once said, "if we pass it, we may get to keep the planet."
Use your strengths to your advantage.