Leslie Kemp Poole is the author of two histories. Saving Florida: Women's Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century is her most recent work. She is an adjunct professor of environmental studies and history at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.
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.
Maitland, known by members of the Seminole tribe as Fumecheliga (the muskmelon place), has a history as diverse and beautiful as its tranquil lake-studded Florida landscape. Named for a soldier who never saw it, the city got its start as an army fort in the Second Seminole War. Later its temperate climate and rich soil drew settlers who put their dreams, sweat, and savings into the soil, growing vegetable crops, raising cattle, and planting extensive citrus groves. Others soon followed, including a number of wealthy winter residents who sought refuge from northern winters and better health in the warmer climate. Together they built a city that served as a center of commerce, learning, and art for the area. Today much of the citrus industry is gone, replaced with subdivisions, thriving office centers, and a cultural corridor, but Maitland remains a place where people move to make better lives.