“There are no other Everglades in the World.” So begins Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ book “The Everglades River of Grass”, published in 1947.


That very name conveys the mystery of its light and depth. The Indians have their name for it – “Pa-hay-okee” meaning “Grassy waters”, and both names equally describe its majesty.


The earlier Spanish map makers who never explored the interior named it “El Laguno del Espiritu Santo”. They believed its mysterious blank spaces contained untold wealth but never ventured into the interior.

About the EvergladesForever Project

By following paths less traveled through the river of grass, our photographic journey seeks to publicize the hidden beauty and treasures of the Florida Everglades and thereby raise public consciousness for the need to protect this unique, fragile environment.


Everglades Forever

“Congratulations Malee Earle – selected from thousands” Award Winner by the Museum of Discovery and Science. The Museum’s Everglades Forever Celebration photo contest winners have been selected by nature photographer Clyde Butcher. Everglades Forever is a project to introduce visitors to the greater Everglades from Everglades National Park to Big Cypress Preserve to the headwaters in the Kissimmee Basin in new, meaningful ways that will increase their engagement with this unique eco-system and encourage appreciation and conservation. The Everglades Forever Celebration is made possible by the American Express Charitable Fund. This photo was taken at the Fakahatchee Preserve. Winding through the Florida Everglades is a narrow thread of forested swamp approximately 20 miles long and 3 to 5 miles wide called the Fakahatchee Strand. It is the main drainage slough of the southwestern Big Cypress Swamp. This vast wilderness is a mosaic of royal palm stands, cypress domes, and grassy prairies dotted with wild bromeliads, native ferns, and orchids. The park’s wildlife includes a number of threatened and endangered species. The Florida panther, wood stork, Florida black bear, mangrove fox squirrel, and Everglades mink have all been seen within the preserve.

A Line about Malee

..born on the wings of adventure
carved by the African Savannah
raised in the quiet coastal plains of South America
embraced by Middle Eastern traditions
and influenced by European culture. “These are the things that bend me to their will.”

Traveling to some of the most remote corners in the cradle of modern religion, Malee finds shelter in small villages and tiny tented camps of the Middle East– “My saviors of the ancient world”.

Driven by a desire to explore the wilderness, Malee moves back to Africa, where the Savannah and its indigenous people “awakened the dormant talent within me”. Here she begins to practice her art and photography in a new medium capturing the raw beauty of African nature.

Malee now lives in the Fort Lauderdale area where she was introduced to the river of grass. “The Everglades”

Origins of the Everglades

“There are no other Everglades in the world.” So begins her book The Everglades – River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Grand Dame of the Everglades and one of the ardent group of activists who succeeded in having the lower part of South Florida declared a National Park in 1947.

The Everglades Region encompasses a huge area, from Lake Okeechobee South to the Bay of Florida, and spreading East to the Atlantic coastal fringe, and West to the edge of the Big Cypress swamp.

Prior to the mid twentieth century, water from a chain of lakes (just South of present Orlando) made its way into what is now called Lake Okeechobee. All this water was supplied by rain as there is no snow melt or underground sources. From there it seeped through the natural walls of the Lake, East until it met the coastal rocklands of Palm Beach, and West until it met the slightly elevated ground of the Big Cypress, and South in a widening arc until it widened out to both coasts South of Miami and exited at the Bay of Florida.

Although only a few feet deep, and less or more in some places this sluggish movement of water really was a river 50-80 miles wide, dropping only at a rate of one inch per mile except after heavy rain. Then it could rise as much as ten feet deep in places and flow more strongly and faster. Its Eastern banks were formed by the rockland coastal belt running down the Atlantic coast, and separated by rock and sandy ridge from the ocean’s incursion. About 20 miles South West of Lake Okeechobee an upland area called the Devil’s Garden rose only a few feet above the Everglades, with growth of Pines and other trees and palms, while to the South and West of it was the Big Cypress Swamp which stretched to the Gulf and consisted of a mix of dry and wet land – mostly dry then becoming swampy in the rainy season. Only dropping at a rate of one inch a mile it traveled very slowly, but in times of heavy rain it could rise as much as 10 feet deep in places and flow more strongly and faster. It was and still is inaccessible to man except by shallow boat or canoe, as besides being mostly waterlogged it is saw grass over its entire length and width and can cut a person to pieces. Fringing the Southernmost coastline was the largest mangrove concentration in the Western hemisphere. This river of grass originally covered an area of 11,000 miles.
Lake Okeechobee, or “Big Water” lies at the beginning of the Everglades. Live Oaks grace its rim to the West, while in places, Cypress trees festooned with Spanish Moss parade its Eastern shores. Its glittering waters are so shallow in places that a fisherman can wade to his boat out of sight of shores hidden by its 750 square miles of empty water. It cannot be seen from the roads which circle it and connect with both coasts, but a short climb up the earthen slope of its protective man-built rim will reveal an ever changing panorama of great shallow islands, masses of reeds and perhaps a glimpse of its natural inhabitants. Wild pig darting through the reeds, deer, an alligator sunning itself, or a kite dipping and circling above the green water lettuce strewn shallows. This is where the miles of saw grass begin their widening swathe in a thick, curving river of grass 50, 60, 70 miles wide to the Southern tip of Florida, and a hundred miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It continues on South, pausing to surround tree islands of Cabbage Palmetto, cocoplum, redbay, wax myrtle and swamp holly. Here deer, panther and other creatures make their home. On the Western fringe large tracts of Cypress forest and tangled sun tropical jungle hide orchids and bromeliads found nowhere else in the United States. This is the Everglades Region.