Presented by Henry Schvey
Florida is renowned for its beautiful beaches, natural springs, and subtropical wilderness. However, dredge-and-fill projects, air pollution, and pesticides spread so uncontrollably during the twentieth century that they sparked an environmental movement. Those who engaged in and led the fight were often women.
Saving Florida reveals how women’s clubs prompted legislation to establish Florida’s first state park, which later became the core of Everglades National Park, in 1916–before women even had the right to vote. It tells the story of Doris Leeper, who convinced her community and the federal government to protect a 24-mile beach that is now Canaveral National Seashore. It remembers Clara Dommerich, who organized the first meeting of the Florida Audubon Society in her living room in 1900. And it celebrates the towering environmental legacy of the three “Marjories”: author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, scientist/activist Marjorie Harris Carr, and journalist/activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
These and many other women led the fight for unprecedented changes in how the Sunshine State reveres its unique natural resources. They set the foundation for this century’s environmental agenda, which came to include the idea of sustainable development. As a collective force, they forever altered how others saw women’s roles in society.
About the Author:
Leslie Kemp Poole is an award-winning writer and historian. A fourth-generation Floridian, Poole has long been interested in the role of women in the state’s environmental movement and how they were saving the state’s important natural resources even before they were able to vote.
Poole is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Florida in 2012. Her articles have been published in a number of academic journals, and she regularly presents papers about her research at history conferences. In 2008 she appeared in the PBS documentary In Marjorie’s Wake which retraced a 1933 trip on the St. Johns River taken by noted author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Poole also has worked as a freelance author for a number of magazines and publications.
Prior to working in academia, Poole was a reporter for several newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, where she helped pen a series of articles about Florida’s lack of growth management that won awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
She lives in Winter Park, Florida, where she and her husband raised two sons and now frequently walk their dog.
This program is sponsored by the Helmerich Trust.