It’s hard to imagine that it’s already been a month since the passing of our friend, mentor, and environmental hero, Maggy Hurchalla. As a staff, this loss has felt particularly close to heart for many reasons, not least of which is our compassion for her granddaughter Kym who serves as our Development Coordinator. Maggy was a frequent participant in Friends of the Everglades activities. She sat on our Science and Policy Committee, offering insight and advice to all manner of environmental issues that helped us deepen our understanding of the fights facing Florida’s natural spaces. She was a repeat special guest during our annual Stories from the Sawgrass event, delighting viewers with poetry recitations and first-hand accounts of wild adventures through the Everglades. It was not uncommon to log into our emails on any given morning to find a stream-of-thought analysis of some Everglades project or policy position that was nagging at her conscience. It was just as likely to find one headlined something like “Last minute paddle invitation – anyone up for joining?” We will sorely miss her comprehensive understanding of all things Everglades, and her fierce optimism against all odds.
Each month, we offer a roundup of news featuring Everglades issues of particular importance. This month we’re dedicating this space to recent coverage about Maggy. Read just a few of them and it’s easy to see how dynamic and courageous she was, how many people she formed personal connections with, and how deeply appreciative the environmental community remains for her legacy. In her absence, we take up the torch to carry on the work she cared so much about. And in her honor, we will all try to live a bit more like Maggy.
- A remembrance of Maggy Hurchalla, environmentalist and protector of Florida’s natural beauty — The Palm Beach Post
“When you drive on the Florida Turnpike and the landscape turns suddenly pastoral heading north, or intensely suburban as you head south from Martin County into Palm Beach County, you are passing through the imagination of Maggy Hurchalla.”
- Maggy Hurchalla, formidable Florida environmentalist, dies at 81 — The New York Times
“[Maggy] would paddle circles around people half her age along Florida’s Indian River, through a mangrove canopy and to a barrier island beach she had nicknamed the “End of the World” — her own corner of the lush Old Florida she had fought so hard to protect.”
- Maggy Hurchalla, Everglades advocate with a tie to Janet Reno, dies at 81 — Miami Herald
“She recognized earlier than most people, that Florida’s natural resources were not unlimited. That if we didn’t protect the remaining land and water that we have, that we would reach a tipping point.”
- Slow-growth activist Maggy Hurchalla and me: a short but impactful relationship — TCPalm
“That’s the way I’m going to remember Maggy — as someone ready to fight “the good fight” until the bitter end.”
- Maggy Hurchalla, environmental advocate, former Martin County Commissioner, dies at 81 — TCPalm
“She was a creature of nature, and she took us all along for the voyage: Her family, friends, children, so many members of the county and complete strangers who just wanted to go on nature walks. She worked to make natural resources available to everyone.”
- Remembering Maggy Hurchalla — We lost a legend — Friends of the Everglades
“Maggy’s impact on Florida’s conservation movement cannot be overstated. She’s the reason developers can’t fill in wetlands in Martin County, and the reason I-95 bends away from Stuart. During her 20 years as a Martin County commissioner, she helped craft development rules that made the community a leader in the state for environmental preservation.”
- Environmentalists, friends and colleagues pay tribute to Maggy Hurchalla, protest comp plan amendment — TCPalm
A crowd gathered at the February 22 Martin County Board of County Commissioners meeting to oppose changes to the comprehensive plan that Maggy championed. The landmark comp plan that protected wetlands and limited the height of buildings in Martin County to four stories was one of Maggy’s greatest achievements.
- Life of environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla celebrated with a paddle out ceremony — TCPalm
Maggy loved big and loved many. Friends and family gathered on March 12 to honor her life the best way we knew how — with kayaks in the water and paddles in hand.
In lieu of flowers, the Hurchalla family is requesting donations to Friends of the Everglades to continue powering the work that she was so very passionate about. If you’d like to make a contribution in honor of Maggy, please click here.