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Three women remembered for their contributions to Florida’s environment

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her dog at her home in Cross Creek, Fla.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Yearling,” which helped inspire others to protect the environment.

While remembering Rawlings and her environmentally-charged piece, Floridians remember two other women who sought protection for Florida’s environment.

All three women established a legacy of  ecological stewardship, but they have something else in common as well.

The three share a name.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Marjorie Carr and Marjory Stoneman Douglas each left their mark on Florida’s history.

Because of Marjorie Carr, the Cross Florida Barge Canal project was stopped, said Steve Robitaille, member of the Florida Defenders of the Environment and professor at Santa Fe College.

The project was a prominent issue for environmentalists at the time, and because of Carr’s work was decommissioned in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The president changed the purpose of the land to recreation and conservation, Robitaille said.

He said without Carr’s work, the canal would have disrupted the local land and waterways. Land left untouched by the project bears the name “Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway,” and Robitaille said members of the Florida Defenders of the Environment are continuing Carr’s work by attempting to take down the dam built during the canal project.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas is notable for her work establishing the Everglades National Park. Douglas, who was a journalist in Miami, worked with conservationist Ernest Coe to establish the Everglades as a park, according to PBS. Douglas’s 1947 book “The Everglades: River of Grass,” helped spark public support for the endeavor.

Rawlings, who wrote “The Yearling” in 1938, was inspired by her home, which was later restored into the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Yearling” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

Valerie Rivers, who manages the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, said that “The Yearling” continues to inspire environmentalists across the state.

Rivers said she believes the work of Rawlings helped provide inspiration and creativity for people to protect Florida’s landscape.

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