Betty Osceola, a proud member of the Panther Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, receiving the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Defender of the Everglades Award from Friends of the Everglades Board President, Phil Kushlan. 2024.

Each year, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Defender of the Everglades award honors an individual who demonstrates outstanding dedication to the mission of Friends of the Everglades to preserve, protect and restore the unique Everglades ecosystem. This accolade celebrates efforts of the recipient that go above and beyond to advance Everglades restoration, while also recognizing their embodiment of the enduring ethos of our organization’s visionary founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

This year we honored Betty Osceola, a proud member of the Panther Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Passionate about environmental conservation and clean water advocacy, Betty has dedicated her life to protecting the natural wonders of the Everglades. Drawing from her Miccosukee heritage, she teaches others about the importance of respecting and preserving our environment for future generations in her work as an environmental educator, and clean water advocate.

In her acceptance speech, Betty implored us to “slow down a little bit and listen to the water, the air and the trees, and pay attention to what nature needs.” Her words remind us that we must commit every day to being the caretakers of the environment in order to ensure that we leave a place for future generations to exist.

We are thankful to Betty Osceola for all that she’s done and all that she continues to do. Please join us in honoring her as our 2024 Defender of the Everglades award recipient. We invite you to enjoy her acceptance speech from the 2024 Marjory Stoneman Douglas Legacy Celebration at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami below.