Celebrate the River of Grass at the eleventh annual Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival from February 24-28. Presented by the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades, this annual five-day party helps raise awareness about the state of the Everglades, all in the name of the amazing ecosystem’s most passionate steward, festival namesake, Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
An ardent supporter of the fragile ecosystem, Stoneman Douglas was a journalist whose monumental work, The Everglades: River of Grass, written in 1947, helped raise awareness and a warning about the wetlands—she even penned the expanse’s nickname, River of Grass. As a staunch preservationist, Stoneman Douglas (right, courtesy of the Friends of the Everglades) fought increased development encroaching into the Everglades, railed against Big Sugar for its hazardous growing methods and damage to Lake Okeechobee—an Everglades’ source, as well as took on the Army Corps of Engineers for its nearly 1,400 miles of canal system that ran roughshod through the wetlands, diverting fresh water and hindering the natural flow of the Everglades. Living to 108, Stone Douglas was a steadfast advocate to her dying day in 1998, and was an inspiration to generations of environmentalists, forming the Friends of the Everglades, as well as instrumental to saving one of earth’s true marvels, or as she put it in River of Grass: “There are no other Everglades in the world…”
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival looks to carry the torch she first lit all those decades ago with a series of events designed to educate, inform and inspire stewardship. The five-day festival is filled with events, from scientific talks, pioneer stories, photography displays and workshops, nature walks, canoe trips, and guided tours of the Everglades, Ten Thousand Islands, Big Cypress Swamp, and Fakahatchee Strand.
- Tuesday, February 24, the MSDF begins with a luncheon at Everglades Isle ($25, $20 for members at 10:45 a.m.
- On Wednesday, February 25, the festival takes on adventure with an educational bent. Guests can opt for guided hikes in the Everglades, kayaking excursions in the Fakahatchee, and an array of lectures and talks, with topics ranging from Florida’s orchids to the logging history of the Everglades.
- Thursday, February 26, the adventures continue with guided swamp hikes in the Fakahatchee Strand, canoe trips and Everglades’ animal presentations in the morning, followed by educational discussions through the afternoon.
- On Friday, February 27, join Friends of the Everglades Museum on a walking tour of Everglades City, followed by a day of historical talks designed to give guests a backdrop to man’s early days in the Everglades.
- On Saturday, Friday 28, the festival commences with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Art-in-the-Glades Day, a day filled with tunes by Connor Blevins, food, local art and crafts at the Museum of the Everglades.
Reservations are required for activities; call 239-695-0008 for cost and to reserve your spot.
For a complete listing of what’s on tap, click here [PDF].