Exhibit of Everglades and Marjory Stoneman Douglas now at Richter Library

Students interested in the environmental movement and the Florida Everglades are now in for a treat.

Archives Coordinator Beatrice Skokan and her team at the Special Collections office of the University of Miami Otto T. Richter Library are now launching a new digital exhibit, which first opened Jan. 29.

The exhibit features Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a champion of the Florida Everglades and founder of Florida’s environmental movement.

“Environmental issues are at the forefront of national policies,” Skokan said, a mother of two who developed her passion for ecology as an undergraduate.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas exhibit was Skokan’s internship project last fall at Florida State University, where she completed her master’s degree in library science.

At UM, Skokan pitched the idea of bringing the digital presentation to Cristina Favretto, the head of special collections at the library. Favretto believed the display would benefit both students at UM and Miami residents.

“This collection contained all the elements that make for a compelling online collection,’’ Favretto said. “We are a team and all provide input for decision-making on department projects.”

Skokan said she put more than 200 hours into the exhibit, while at the same time, learning new fields of work from other departments such as digital initiatives, systems, and metadata.

Douglass will always be remembered, particularly in South Florida, for the profound impact she had on the environment. Her book, The Everglades: River of Grass, published in 1947, brought attention to the Everglades at a time when people looked upon it as little more than a swamp.

Since Douglas, who passed away in 1998 at the age of 108, has an enormous history of achievements, only 64 boxes of data could fit into the exhibit.

“It is the process of selecting material that will make an interesting story,” said Skokan.

This site features Douglas’ autobiography, a timeline that corresponds to Miami and Florida events, as well as international and national events, project background, images, maps, old news articles, a 39-foot-long book of manuscripts, diary entries, videos, and masses of other appealing sources that were handed down from research contributors.

“She worked in depth with the papers that were donated,” said Cory Czajkowski, senior library assistant. “She was working on this piece for quite some time now. It’s a really well-done site.”

February 13, 2009


Carly Ehrlich

Contributing News Writer

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