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Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Champion of the Everglades

Read below to find out more about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and be like her by doing the science experiment that follows.


Headshot of Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas was an American journalist, writer, and environmentalist known for her staunch defense of the Everglades against efforts to drain it and reclaim land for development.


Born on April 7, 1890, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Douglas moved to Miami, Florida, and became a champion for one of the world's most unique natural habitats.


Marjory's most significant contribution to science and environmental conservation was her book, "The Everglades: River of Grass," published in 1947. This book transformed the way people thought about the Everglades, not as a worthless swamp, but as a precious and vital ecosystem. She spent the rest of her life, nearly 108 years, advocating for the protection and preservation of the vast area.


Her work led to greater public awareness of the environmental value of the Everglades and contributed to efforts to protect it as a national park. She was a pioneer in the fight for environmental conservation, earning her the nickname "Grandmother of the Everglades."


Marjory Stoneman Douglas was not just any environmentalist; she was a superhero for the Everglades, a vast and beautiful wetland in Florida. Imagine being so passionate about a place that you spend almost your entire life fighting to protect it. That’s exactly what Marjory did. But why? Why did she care so much about a swamp?


Well, Marjory saw something special in the Everglades that many others didn’t. While some people saw it as just a wet, muddy swamp, she saw it as a vibrant, essential ecosystem that was full of life and crucial for the environment. She believed that every animal, plant, and drop of water in the Everglades mattered and had a role to play in our world’s health.


Her journey began with her work as a journalist and writer, where she used her words like a superhero uses their powers - to fight for good. When she wrote "The Everglades: River of Grass" in 1947, she opened people's eyes to the beauty and importance of the Everglades. She showed them that this place was worth saving.



But Marjory’s superpower wasn’t just in writing. She was incredibly persistent and never gave up, no matter how tough the challenge. She faced big companies and politicians who wanted to drain the Everglades and use the land for their own benefit. But Marjory stood firm, spoke loudly, and rallied people together to protect this precious place. She showed that one person, armed with passion, courage, and determination, can indeed make a huge difference.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas's story is a powerful reminder that no one is too small or too young to change the world. You might think, "I’m just one person; what can I do?" Well, Marjory was one person too, and she helped save the Everglades. Her legacy teaches us that with passion and perseverance, you too can stand up for what you believe in and make a positive impact on the world.


Remember, every big change starts with one person deciding to take a stand. Whether it's protecting the environment, helping animals, or standing up for people's rights, your actions matter.


Marjory’s life shows us that when you care deeply about something and fight for it, you can truly change the world. So, what are you passionate about? How will you use your voice and actions to make a difference? Just like Marjory, you have the power to be a superhero for a cause you believe in.



Be like Marjory Stoneman Douglas in this DIY Science Experiment


Materials You'll Need

  • A large, clear plastic bottle or a glass jar (with a lid)

  • Soil

  • Small plants (preferably ones that thrive in wet conditions, like ferns or mosses)

  • Water

  • Rocks or pebbles


Procedure

  1. Prepare Your Container: Clean your bottle or jar thoroughly. If you're using a plastic bottle, cutting it in half can make it easier to work with, but ensure to keep the top part to use as a lid.

  2. Layer the Bottom: Start with a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of your container. This mimics the bottom layer of natural water ecosystems and helps with drainage.

  3. Add Soil: Place a good amount of soil on top of the rocks. This layer will serve as the base for your plants, akin to the rich, fertile ground of natural habitats.

  4. Plant Your Plants: Carefully plant your chosen small plants into the soil. These will represent the plant life in an ecosystem like the Everglades. Choose plants that can thrive in high-humidity and moist soil conditions.

  5. Water Your Ecosystem: Gently add water to ensure the soil is moist but not overly saturated. The goal is to mimic the wet conditions of natural ecosystems without waterlogging your plants.

  6. Close the System: Put the lid on your container (or the top half of the bottle if you've cut it). This will create a closed environment that can sustain itself through the water cycle, with water evaporating and then condensing on the sides and top of the container before raining back down on the plants.

  7. Observe and Maintain: Place your ecosystem in a location where it will receive indirect sunlight. Observe how the water cycles through your mini-ecosystem, and watch your plants grow. If you notice condensation is excessive, you can open the lid occasionally to let some out, or if the soil seems too dry, add a little water.


Be inspired - be the inspiration


Have you read the Rocket Girls series yet? Its protagonist Sam Gold is a girl scientist just like you who solves mysteries using science.


Upload a picture of yourself with your copy of Rocket Girls or your homemade ecosystem and tag our Instagram @RocketGirlsSci so you too can be acknowledged as a Rocket Girl!


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