navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies School and Family
Biographies Unit Biographies

Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1890–1998
Protector of the Florida Everglades

In 1947, Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote a book that forever changed the way many people viewed the Florida Everglades. People used to believe that the Everglades were useless swamps. Some people wanted to drain them and build farms. Douglas's book, The Everglades: River of Grass, showed people that the wetlands of the Everglades supported many different kinds of plants and animals. Her powerful words convinced people to protect the area. The government soon declared the Everglades a national park.

Douglas dedicated her life to protecting the Everglades region from pollution and development. At 79, she stopped an airport from being built near the park. Even at 102, she spoke out against laws that threatened the wetlands. In 1993, she won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work.

Comprehension Check

Before 1947, what did many people think about the Florida Everglades?

Critical Thinking

Why is Marjory Stoneman Douglas important to the history of Florida?