01 marjory stoneman douglas
CNN  — 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is now a place we unfortunately will be compelled to remember for years. Here is some background on the school’s namesake, a journalist and environmentalist who was once bestowed the highest civilian honor in the country.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas was in important figure in Florida’s history, and is most noted for her work in championing the Everglades, the vast 1.5 million acre area of wetlands that is the defining environmental feature of South Florida.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890 - 1998)

Along with her work as a conservationist and environmental activist, she was also a writer, journalist and an avowed feminist. She began her career at the Miami Herald in 1915 and eventually wrote several well-regarded books, including “The Everglades: River of Grass” (1947) and her autobiography, “Voice of the River” (1987).

In addition to her written work, Douglas brought her passion for and vast knowledge of the Everglades into the political sphere. She formed the “Friends of the Everglades” in 1969, a society that advocates for the protection of the Everglades through legislation and education.

In 1993, at the age of 103, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Bill Clinton.

“Her advocacy on behalf of the Everglades in Florida long before there was ever an Earth Day is legendary. It has been an inspiration to generations of conservationists, environmentalists, and preservationists throughout our Nation,” Clinton said at the ceremony.

“Beyond Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas is a mentor for all who desire to preserve what we southerners affectionately call ‘a sense of place.’ And Mrs. Douglas, the next time I hear someone mention the timeless wonders and powers of Mother Nature, I’ll be thinking about you.”