With our beautiful beaches, fabulous shops and restaurants, great golf and boating, it is easy to forget that Naples borders one of the most interesting ecosystems in the world, the Florida Everglades. This week offers a great opportunity to explore this amazing "River of Grass."
The 10th Annual Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Festival runs from Tuesday, February 18 through Saturday, February 22 honoring the memory of this environmental pioneer, author and champion of the Everglades. Events include deep lake and swamp walks, educational lectures, pioneer talks, tram tours, canoe and kayak tours, plant walks, wild animal presentations, Seminole history, and Saturday's Art in the Glades Day with music, food and local arts and crafts.
Here is brief bio on Ms. Douglas, courtesy of Friends of the Everglades Museum:
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998) was an author, journalist and environmental activist. Her best-known work “Everglades: River of Grass” was published in 1947. It drew attention to the fact that water is the key to the Everglades and presented the concept that the Everglades was not simply a swamp to be drained for homes and businesses but a vital part of the ecosystem of South Florida.
The original Everglades drainage scheme, implemented in 1906, forever changed the Everglades by altering its natural flooding and evaporation cycle. Were it not for Marjory and others like her, there changes might have gone unnoticed and the death knell sounded.
In the 1960s, at the age of 78, Marjory became actively involved in environmental issues when she opposed a planned jetport.
along the Tamiami Trail. She established a pressure group, Friends of the Everglades, and began speaking on their behalf to public and private entities across the state. In doing so, she was able to focus attention on the importance of protecting this national treasure. Although Marjory Stoneman Douglas died in 1998 at 108 years of age, her power of observation and skillful use of the written word, lives on. Her legacy serves as a challenge to succeeding generations not only to persevere in the fight to save the Everglades, but to discover for themselves the incredible beauty of the natural wonder wecall the “River of Grass.”
© 2013, Friends of the Museum of the Everglades, Inc
Bill Van Arsdale