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Conservation in Florida: Its History and Heroes - Gary White

Reviewed by Nyleen Rodriguez

The book “Conservation in Florida: Its History and Heroes” by Gary L. White brings us a not very common opportunity to explore the reality of the fight for conservation in our state. Florida has always struggled to keep its environment protected as it allowed more development to occur. Gary takes us in his book through a journey of happiness, success and sometimes, many times, despair and frustration, as men and women like us take it upon our shoulders to be a part of the solution.

My love for nonfiction books and special interest on the environment, has kept me captivated since I started reading it. At the beginning, Gary shares with us the history of Florida and some of its first settlers, and how like always, we tend to believe that resources are endless. One of the sections that really intrigued me was about the feather trade in Florida and how much damage it caused to our wildlife and the lives that it took. Learning about all of these first heroes in our conservation struggles that sacrificed their lives for the protection of our state teaches us that we are not in this alone.

Another interesting point was the discussion about how all the environmental societies started in Florida, like Audubon, Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy. Each of them, as unique and different as they are, shared a genuine interest in the future of our state. As involved as we have become recently with the Audubon, it’s been an eye opener to see how it all started and what brought them here to start. I was also glad to learn about the amazing women that played important roles in the conservation fight in our state. To see a group of people that were willing to sacrifice their normal lives for the protection of land and wildlife it is always captivating.

Finally, because I love politics, it’s a definitely interesting part to learn what our state legislature have done good and bad to protect our resources. To see what we see every day happening for a very long time, basically restates facts that we already know and sadly, we all know it will continue. The protection of our state is not about land or resources or wildlife, it’s about money and development. All the other things take a second place in this struggle, but we should still fight for it.

If you are an advocate of conservation, and if you don’t mind the politics involved, this is the book to read. You will better understand why we have to take part in this continuous struggle for the survival of our beautiful state of Florida.

Gary White has won several awards as staff writer for the The Ledger and is a member of the LRAS.





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