The Grande Dame of the Everglades By Ruth Robinson

She stood 5’ 2”, weighted in at 100 pounds. You have heard her name over and over this past month, but you may not know who she was. The ‘she’ I’m referring to was Marjory Stoneman Douglas. You certainly know the high school in Parkland, FL, named for her and the tragic scene last month of yet another mass killing.

Douglas lived to 108, working until nearly the end of her life for Everglades restoration. Upon her death in 1998, an obituary in The Independent in London stated, "In the history of the American environmental movement, there have been few more remarkable figures than Marjory Stoneman Douglas.”

Her most influential work was the book The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), which redefined the popular conception of the Everglades as a treasured river instead of a worthless swamp. In addition to being a tireless environmentalist, before that word was invented, she championed women’s rights, civil rights, clean drinking water and better sanitation for the people of Florida.

President Bill Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom. Douglas was tireless and never silent when confronting political barriers. It is ironic that she did not give up on the incredible value of the Everglades and worked to preserve this treasure; this was just a swamp that needed draining to many real estate developers in south Florida.

What a legacy, what a remarkable woman. Now you know Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a memorial to a true American Hero, not only a memorial to those who died there.