After Wednesday, Feb. 14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., would be forever associated with one of the deadliest mass school shootings in U.S. history.
Until that time, it was known as the namesake of one of South Florida’s most colorful environmentalists.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, journalist, suffragist and warrior, lived to be 108, and for the last 29 years of her life worked ceaselessly to protect the Everglades, a precious resource under threat by the sugar industry and land developers.
Born in 1890, she moved to Miami as a young woman to become a reporter for the Miami Herald. She served as a columnist and an editor, then left to become a freelance writer. She wrote plays, magazine articles and short stories, selling 40 stories to the Saturday Evening Post alone.
She became interested in the Everglades in the 1940s. Her 1947 book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” was compared to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in terms of the impact it had on the young environmental movement, and in particular its effect in galvanizing support for this unique ecosystem.
According to Wikipedia, “in 1969 — at the age of 79 —Douglas founded Friends of the Everglades to protest the construction of a jetport in the Big Cypress portion of the Everglades.”
She continued to campaign on behalf of the critical wetland for the next 29 years.
In 1990, when she turned 100, Broward County named a new high school for the 5-foot-2 activist.
She lived to 108, working almost until the end of her life to protect this unique resource.