Statue at Fairchild Botanic Garden ©Author Adventures

Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998), daughter of the first publisher of the newspaper that would become The Miami Herald, was a beacon of conservation efforts in South Florida. She wrote many influential books and other publications on several subjects, most of which focused on key issues of her time, with her best-known book being The Everglades: River of Grass (1947). A list of her published work can be seen at http://merrick.library.miami.edu/specialCollections/asm0060/

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Red-shouldered Hawk, The Everglades ©Author Adventures

While Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s home in Miami is not currently open to the public, her dedication to the Everglades warrants a long, peaceful visit there. Remember to bring binoculars, a sun hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, and your best camera. You can rent a bicycle in Shark Valley and ride a path adjacent to water where alligators sun themselves on the banks and swim in the murky water.

The National Park Service‘s website refers to The Everglades: River of Grass as “the definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect,” adding that the author “…recognized that the Everglades was a system which depended not only on the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee into the park, but also upon the Kissimmee River which feeds the lake. To add a voting constituency to her efforts, in 1970 she formed the Friends of the Everglades, and was active as the head of the organization.”

Winter is the best time to visit the Everglades. I took the bird photos through the southern entrance near Homestead on a cool and rainy day in February. The video was shot at Shark Valley, the west entrance to the Everglades, on a sunny January day. (To see more Author Adventures videos, visit Author Adventures on YouTube.) The park bench statue of the writer who saved the Everglades and founded Friends of the Everglades, with space for a visitor to sit beside her, is at the lush Fairchild Botanic Garden in Miami.

Shark Valley, The Everglades, next to a walkway/bike path. Visitors are advised to keep a 15-foot distance from alligators. ©Author Adventures

The southern route to the Everglades can be added to Author Adventures Florida Trail #2, followed by the Keys:

The route to the western entrance of the Everglades can be followed to Author Adventures Florida Trail #3 via I-41:

Patricia Smart