By Jane Feehan
(Search this blog for more "Florida History" or see: janeshistorynook.blogspot.com
In the late 19th century, the plume trade in the U.S. and Europe grew at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Florida birds. Their feathers, used to adorn women’s hats, were worth about 75 cents apiece in New York. The American egret and the snowy egret were targeted, along with other wading birds, in rookeries (breeding places) just south of Okeechobee in the Everglades. Hunters came into the swampy area and clubbed and scalped birds by night. The Florida legislature passed a law prohibiting the slaughter in 1877, but it was ignored. In just four years all rookeries south of Okeechobee were destroyed.
In protest, women against the decimation of birds for their feathers founded Audubon societies across the nation in the 1890s, launching what was probably the first modern American conservation movement. Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.
(Photo above is of wood storks)
2. Douglas, Marjory Stoneman, The Everglades, River of Grass. Banyan Books,1978.
For the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, visit: www.sunny.org