February 23rd marks the kickoff for the 12th annual Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival in Everglades City near Naples.
The Museum of the Everglades is a home base for the festival, which pays homage to the woman credited with the creation of Everglades National Park. Activities for the entire family take place throughout the park and Everglades biological system.
Canoe tours are on the agenda — Photo courtesy of Collier County Museums
Douglas published her influential Rivers of Grass book in 1947, exposing the importance of the Everglades environment in the South Florida ecosystem. The journalist and environmental activist’s words awoke the populace and government to the fragility of the Everglades and the need to protect the region for survival of wildlife and mankind.
In the 1960's at age 78, Douglas continued her active protests against draining the Everglades and exploiting the environment.
Although she died in 1998 at 108 years of age, her legacy lives on in the power of her observations and written word. She is widely remembered as one of America’s great environmental heroes, and the annual Everglades City festival keeps her memory alive with a five-day celebration.
The event begins at 10:45 am on Tuesday, Feb. 23, with an opening luncheon and reflections from Captain Franklin Adams, a close friend of Douglas, whom he met as a student.
“Education and Adventure” is the theme for Wednesday, Feb. 24, which lists activities and presentations starting at 9 am. Choose from such options as an Everglades Guided Fern Walk, kayaking Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and learning about manatees or Barron Collier, Collier County’s namesake and developer.
The next day, Thursday, Feb. 25, takes “A Walk on the Wild Side” with a historic guided canoe trip starting at 8:30 am, swamp walks, a pontoon boat tour, an animal presentation and a lecture on “The Hidden Everglades.”
“Step into the Glades” on Friday, Feb. 26, with a Logging Trail Walk at 8:30 am, a swamp buggy tour of Big Cypress Swamp and presentations by clansmen of the Miccosukee tribe.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Festival culminates on Saturday, Feb. 27, with MSD Art in the Glades Day. Celtic Spice provides live music along with others.
Plus festivalgoers will enjoy food, local arts and crafts, and programs and activities that include a 9 am Fakahatchee Strand tram tour, “Secrets of the Swamp” by a Big Cypress National Preserve ranger, “Native Plants for your Florida Landscape" by the deputy director of Naples Botanical Garden, “Imaging Life on Sandfly Island” by Everglades National Park and “Tamiami Trail History” by author Cesar Beccera.
Please call ahead for reservations for festival events at 239-695-0008. Most activities commence at the Museum of the Everglades.