Marketing intern Jackie Joiner is majoring in advertising at the University of Florida. During her internship this spring at the University Press of Florida, Jackie got us started participating in #FirstLineFriday—a weekly look inside our newest books. (Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to join in!)

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Get to know some of the many environmentalists Leslie Kemp Poole researched and interviewed for her book Saving Florida, published this May.

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Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida

Marjorie Harris Carr

Marjorie Harris Carr majored in zoology at Florida State College for Women and received her masters degree in zoology at the University of Florida.

Some of Carr’s early accomplishments included saving trees in her hometown, stopping a highway path through the University of Florida, and helping preserve a savannah outside of Gainesville. One of Carr’s biggest roles was being the face of the anti-canal campaign “Save the Ocklawaha” and founder of Florida Defenders of the Environment.

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Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stone­man Douglas fought for Florida’s “river of grass”—the Everglades. Her 1947 book The Everglades: River of Grass taught the nation how to understand and appreciate Florida’s wetlands.

Douglas used her journalism skills to support early efforts to create Everglades National Park as well as found Friends of the Everglades. By the time of her death in 1998 at 108 years old, Douglas had secured her place as preeminent environmental activist and the patron saint of all things Everglades.

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The internationally acclaimed and beloved Everglades owe their existence in large measure to the activism of the state’s environmental women. Credit: Kim den Beste.

 

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Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings inspired many generations of environmental activists through her books The Yearling and Cross Creek.

Rawlings died in 1953 at the age of 57, before major problems in Florida’s natural systems were apparent, but she made Americans aware that problems were imminent. Today, Rawlings’s home is preserved as a state park and she is honored as a “First Floridian” who helped Americans discover the splendor of Florida’s landscape.

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Courtesy of the Atlantic Center for the Arts

Doris Leeper

Strong-minded and straight-speaking Doris Leeper did not like to be told “no.” She was a big thinker and attracted well-educated people and money to finance her big ideas.

Concerned that visitors to the southern Volusia County Atlantic coast were tearing up fragile dunes with their cars to gain access to the beach, Leeper formed Friends of the Canaveral National Seashore to help preserve it. As a result of her efforts, the 24-mile Canaveral National Seashore was established in 1975.

Canaveral National Seashore exists today largely because of the work of Doris Leeper. Photo by Leslie Kemp Poole.

 

Save_manatee_license_plateJudith Delaney Vallee

Vallee focused on the plight of one of Florida’s endangered species—the manatee. She helped create and launch Florida’s “Save the Manatee” license plates. All the proceeds from the license plates went to manatee research and education programs. From 1990 to 2007, the license plates netted $34 million. Since then, other endangered Florida animals have been highlighted on license plates, such as sea turtles and the Florida panther.

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Courtesy of Leslie Kemp Poole

Jeannie Economos

An Orlando resident and the pesticide safety and environmental health coordinator for the FWAF (Farmworker Association of Florida) Lake Apopka project, Economos spent many years raising awareness of the health problems of the area’s farm workers. Thousands of people who made a living planting, picking, and packing vegetables suffered health problems as a result of pesticide chemicals that were sprayed on the fields for decades.

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Courtesy of Leslie Kemp Poole
Courtesy of Leslie Kemp Poole

Joy Towles Ezell

When Joy Towles Ezell discovered that the Fenholloway River was contaminated with dioxin, a byproduct from a nearby paper products plant, she started gathering data and asking questions.

In 1989, Ezell and 30 other people formed Help Our Polluted Environment (HOPE). She also ran a newspaper ad seeking residents to join in a class action suit against the plant. Two days later the Tallahassee Democrat began publishing a scathing series about the condition of the river, which was just the kind of media attention Ezell needed to spark a larger discussion.

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To read more about these women and other female activists who led the fight to protect the Sunshine State’s unique natural resources, check out Saving Florida.

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Logged-out Florida pine forests like this one in the early twentieth century inspired women to demand better treatment of the state’s natural resources. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.

 

 

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