In 2003, the Coalition created a Hall of Fame, which recognizes a substantial, lifetime commitment to Everglades restoration. The members of the hall of fame are champions from many walks of life, united in the ability to persuade and perservere on behalf of these irreplaceable landscapes.
Thom Rumburger spent his career in the trenches, championing Everglades restoration. Often referred to as the “Defender of the Everglades,” Thom was the lead counsel for The Everglades Foundation, Inc. since 1989.
A committed environmentalist, Mr. Rumberger was a leading figure in the effort to save the endangered Florida manatee. In the late 1980s, he worked to implement some of the first manatee protection laws. To this end, he represented such organizations as Save the Manatees, The Everglades Foundation, Inc., The Everglades Trust, Inc., and Save Our Everglades. He was Chairman and General Counsel of The Everglades Trust and former General Counsel of The Everglades Foundation.
He was instrumental in the passage of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, two constitutional amendments, and in obtaining several billion dollars in funding from the federal government and the State of Florida for Everglades restoration. In 2011, the Everglades lost a true hero, but Thom’s legacy will inspire us to stay committed to restoring this natural treasure and to rise to every new challenge.
Johnny Jones grew up in and around the Everglades. And he would have lived out his life as a happy hunting plumber if people had only left the Everglades alone. But he had to wage endless battles to defend it.
He was born in West Palm Beach in the depression year of 1932. Seventeen years later married Marianna Beebe, who became an active and invaluable partner in all his crusades.
In the late 1960s Johnny left his trade as a master plumber to lead the Florida Wildlife Federation. There for 14 years he rattled state and local government with demands for protection of the states diminishing natural resources.
By the 1980s it became painfully apparent that the Everglades was in trouble. Plans for its rescue began to emerge, some of them at meetings in Johnny's back yard.
With Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Art Marshall he drew a plan and took it to his friend Governor Bob Graham. The Governor responded with his Save Our Everglades campaign.
To an amazing degree Johnny knows how to charm people, especially lawmakers and media reporters.
This ability won for us the Big Cypress National Preserve, the Rotenberger and much other habitat for wildlife and people. He wrote the successful Kissimmee River Restoration Act and the still struggling Lake Okeechobee Restoration Act. He wrote the Conservation and Recreation Lands Act. He helped pass the Environmental Lands Act, the Environmental Education Act and the Water Resources Act.
In all, he lobbied 66 environmental bills through the Florida Legislature. No one else in the fight to save the Everglades can boast such an array of trophies.
By the time she got off the train in Miami in 1914 Marjory Stoneman Douglas had become the kind of person who does not fit the mold. She had come to get a divorce. She went to work as a reporter on her father's newspaper. She joined the Navy, wound up in Europe with the Red Cross.
Her life settled down a bit when she returned to the paper. Later she did free lance. Her small Coconut Grove cottage is "the house that the Saturday Evening Post built."
Then, in 1947, at middle age, she wrote the book. She taught us about the Everglades, a river of grass. But she did more than that. She taught us to love the Everglades, unfolding the scene with poetic passion.
And that isn't all. She fought to save her beloved territory. She enlisted an army to help her. She organized Friends of the Everglades. She helped write the environmentalists' plan to restore the Everglades. She had no car and did not drive but she went everywhere to tell of the need to restore the flow, clean the water.
She became known and notorious. The very people she often attacked named a government building in Tallahassee for her. It houses the state environmental agency. She used the dedication ceremony to chide the occupants for neglecting the Everglades.
Marjory appealed to the uneasy conscience of a nation that is not taking good care of its natural resources. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton in 1993 and, after she died, she was inducted into the National Woman's Hall of Fame in 2000.
She lived to be 108, dying in 1998. She fought to the end of her days.
Straw hatted, scrawny, eyes hidden behind headlights, OLD—she was our most formidable warrior.
Arthur R. Marshall was the apostle of the Everglades. His formula for resurrection of the endangered wetland is the bible for environmentalists. He preached the solution far and wide. It was simple. We must restore the flow, the timing, the depth, the purity of the water.
So intent was Art in getting his point across that when you saw him coming you knew what he was going to say. He was going to say that the Everglades was dying and we had to act.
Art began to worry about the Everglades during his 16 years as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Florida.
Over time he came to preach for what today is known as the Marshall Plan. It is a simple plan, and we increasingly find reference to it today in the struggle to save and restore the remaining Everglades.
Art emphasized that to restore the Everglades we must restore the sheet flow to the greatest possible extent all the way from the Kissimmee River to Florida Bay.
Although Marshall is indelibly identified with the Everglades, his concerns reached beyond its borders. Among other things he worried about population growth.
This is from a paper he wrote in 1969 at a meeting of Conservation 70 in Homasassa. "Man, who is so rapidly increasing his kind. No one knows all the harm he may be inflicting on himself. But there is ample evidence to believe that we cannot delay revamping our philosophies. We must use all the scientific knowledge available to us, and the reasoned judgment of the affected humans, to assess our actions before we take them."
But always, his attention turned back to the Everglades. His concern persisted during his days at the University of Miami and as a board member on two water management districts—South Florida and Saint Johns. He was involved in most of the major environmental issues in Florida in his day, but the Everglades was his principal passion. In recognition of this fact, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge bears his name. So does the foundation created and run by his nephew, John Arthur Marshall, an Everglades activist.
Although Art was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1919, he grew up in Florida, where the Marshall family roots go back to 1835. During World War II he was in the D-Day invasion as a company commander and later helped liberate one of the Nazi death camps. It was an experience he seldom talked about.
He got degrees from the University of Florida, which has an endowed chair in his name, and the University of Miami.
Like all multi-talented environmentalists, Art was a good teacher, and a life-long inspiration to other conservationists. Among the people he taught were Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Johnny Jones. He was not what you would call a happy go lucky fellow. He was dead serious, at times even dour. He never doubted his convictions. And time is proving how right he was.
When he died in 1995, George Barley, a seventh-generation Floridian, had dedicated much of two decades to environmental causes.
A wealthy real estate developer, he believed environmentalists would succeed only with the help of the business community. His love of fishing and hunting sparked his outrage over the destruction of Florida Bay and the Everglades, which he channeled into a fiery campaign for restoration. He borrowed a friend's small plane and, over the course of several months, took more than 1,000 people on flights above the Everglades and Florida Bay. He convinced dozens of journalists to visit Florida Bay and bring back the story of destruction.
In the early 1980s while serving as the first chairman of the Marine Fisheries Commission, a body dominated by commercial fishing interests, he supported controversial limits on snook and redfish. While serving as the first chairman of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, he became convinced that the destruction of Florida Bay was caused by the massive amounts of water being diverted to tide and that the government was not looking at the Everglades system holistically.
He engaged in the battle to end the sugar industry's protections against foreign imports, and in 1993 he founded the Save Our Everglades Foundation and collected 600,000 signatures to put a sugar tax on the ballot to pay for cleaning up water flowing from farms to the Everglades and Florida Bay. In 1994, the Florida Supreme Court prevented the amendment from going to a vote. At the time of his death, he was crafting a new amendment that would meet the court's approval. A tenacious and passionate fighter, he brought business accumen and an entrepreneur's drive to the Everglades restoration movement.
Bob Graham was born in Coral Gables, Florida and raised on a cattle and dairy farm in the deep Everglades of what is now Miami-Dade County. He received a bachelor's degree in 1959 in political science from the University of Florida, where he was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1962, he returned to his native Miami and won a seat in the Florida House of Representatives as a part of a group of young progressive Democrats known as the Doghouse Democrats because their liberal policies often landed them in the doghouse with the conservatives who controlled the state. In 1978, Graham was elected Governor of Florida after a seven-way Democratic primary race. Graham was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and re-elected in 1992; during his 18 years in the Senate he served on the environment and finance committees and was active in veterans issues and foreign policy. He retired from the Senate in January 2005.
"In his lifetime of leadership, Bob Graham has proven himself a true champion of the restoration of America's Everglades. Were it not for Senator Graham, we would not be anywhere near the point we've reached in the campaign to save the Everglades for current and future generations."
Among his most important achievements is the launching of the most extensive environmental protection program in the state's history, focused on preserving endangered lands. During his tenure thousands of acres of threatened and environmentally important lands were brought into state ownership for permanent protection. His support for the work of the Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida brought a diverse array of interests together to craft a blueprint for the future of South Florida. Graham is best known for authoring the "Restoring the Everglades, An American Legacy Act," which authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and for fighting tirelessly for its passage in Congress.
Senator Grahams public service and mentorship for future generations of conservation leaders has continued to make him one of the most important champions for Everglades restoration.
Nathaniel P. Reed's concerns about the exploitation and thoughtless destruction of much of Southern Florida by ill conceived Corps of Engineers and state drainage projects led him to become a highly visible and articulate critic.
Upon returning to Florida following military service, he became Vice President and then President of the Hobe Sound Company, a real estate and holding company, which owned the world famous Jupiter Island Club. Under his parent's vision, Jupiter Island was developed slowly and wisely with hundreds of acres of wilderness preserved on the Island and mainland. Mr. Reed was deeply involved in the land issues that led to the extraordinary range of land donations that created the Nature Conservancys Blowing Rocks Preserve and the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.
In 1967, he was appointed the state's first Governor's Environmental Counsel (1967-71) by Claude R. Kirk, Jr. In 1969, following the exposure of years of neglect and lack of enforcement of basic air and water pollution state laws, the governor appointed Mr. Reed to become Chairman of the newly formed Department of Air and Water Pollution Control which has evolved into the Department of Environmental Regulation. In 1971, Mr. Reed accepted the invitation of President Nixon to become Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National Parks, where he served until 1977.
Mr. Reed has served seven governors, republican and democrat, on every conceivable committee and commission.
Mr. Reed has served seven governors, republican and democrat, on every conceivable committee and commission. He is best known as the highly visible Chairman of the Commission on Florida's Environmental Future which recommended a three billion dollar investment in the remaining best wild lands in Florida. Two million acres later the program continues to be supported by Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature.
Reed was appointed by three different governors to serve as a member of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board. For 14 years he was the voice of conscience for everglades restoration and efforts to end outdated drainage practices and mismanagement of water.
Former Miami Herald reporter, Juanita has been a longtime advocate for Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. Juanita's reporting for the Miami Herald was instrumental in the creation and protection of Biscayne National Park, which was threatened in the 1960s by a plan to dredge a channel through the bay and turn the area into the City of Islandia.
After retiring she lived for a time in the Florida Keys and gravitated toward what would become her second career: environmentalist. She was active with the Izaac Walton League and, later, a long time board member of Friends of the Everglades, the organization founded by her friend (and fellow Hall of Fame member) Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 1969.
She was a tireless advocate for the common sense step of returning as much sugar land as possible to the historic Everglades in service of restoring our badly damaged public lands and national park. The efforts by Gov. Charlie Crist to purchase US Sugar lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area emphasize how much in the mainstream Juanita Green really was.
Juanita was not impressed by compromise.
Juanita has long understood the power of federal law, and the need to strengthen protections afforded citizens and the environment by testing those laws. Juanita was not impressed by compromise. In her certainty, we are reminded that progress cannot be measured by broken promises, false claims of achievement, and violating federal law.
Maggy Hurchalla has been a tireless and effective advocate for Everglades Restoration, even before CERP. She was a 20-year Martin County Commissioner, an active member of numerous Governor Commissions on the Everglades, water and planning, a lifelong advocate for wetlands preservation, an award winner for national, state and local environmental and conservation awards regarding wetlands, land planning, water studies - to help the Everglades CERP and before CERP.
As a member of the Governor’s Commission of Sustainable South Florida, she worked with others to negotiate settlements of controversies between stakeholders, always reminding the stakeholders of what the future holds if the Everglades is NOT restored. She rolled up her sleeves and worked through the calculations for modeling restoration methods for the IRL Feasibility Study. She was a member of the Working Team for the Indian River Lagoon Feasibility Study, a major component of Everglades Restoration - the point person for the use of natural storage and water quality treatment areas. The natural storage component is now included as a significant part of the IRL Feasibility Study. Maggy provided vital analysis and was a proponent for the approach of using pasture and rangeland with relic wetlands to provide storage, reduce the nutrient load to the waterways, and provide important water quality improvement in addition to the storage component.
She has been an effective advocate - building united fronts for Everglades restoration and working with residents and businesses for effective lobbying together to get CERP authorizations and WRDA approvals. She was also at the forefront for Martin County’s passing a referendum for a local sales tax for CERP. She publishes articles and speaks around the state to community groups, planners, and environmental groups about the role of wetlands, planning and CERP in a sustainable Florida. She has previously received two national awards for her years of working to clean up and protect the Everglades.