Our Fairy Godmother Mary Barley
For some great amazing reason there are many of us that walk around with our water issues in our head. All day long. In our dreams. It’s what we think about when we are driving the car and when we wake up in the morning. It’s what has brought us together. The overwhelming need to fix this.
Way before we were doing this Mary Barley was on the case.
Fairy Godmothers are magically-gifted women who monitor magical forces across the kingdoms. Whenever events are right for a fairy tale to recur, the relevant Fairy Godmother steps in to make sure that the tale in question runs its course with as few fatalities as possible.
Mary Barley has been watching out for our clean water for a long time. She has fought the dragons. She has the vision of the Everglades, of clean water, of no more discharges.
Having served as Chairperson of The Everglades Foundation since her husband’s untimely death in 1995 in a plane crash while on Everglades business, Mary Barley currently serves as vice chairperson of the Foundation. She is also President of The Everglades Trust, and serves on the Boards of the National Coalition for Marine Conservation, World Wildlife Fund Marine Leadership Committee, Atlantic Salmon Federation (U.S.), and the Sierra Club Foundation.
In her fight for Everglades restoration and taxpayer equity, Mary has crisscrossed not only the State of Florida but the nation, to bring the plight of America’s Everglades to the public’s attention.
As one of the nation’s preeminent Everglades conservationists, Mary spearheaded the passage of two Everglades protection amendments to the Florida Constitution.
For more than a decade, Barley has waged a campaign to save the Everglades, one unprecedented for engaging all the region’s power players (some of them grudgingly, to be sure) to work for real change across a collapsing ecosystem. A self-described “environmental rabblerouser,” Barley is a millionaire widow who took up her husband’s cause after his death in a 1995 plane crash that occurred as he was on his way to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers about the Everglades.
The next year Barley faced off with the region’s potent sugar industry herself, helping win a state constitutional amendment requiring polluters to bear the brunt of cleanup costs. In 2000, she was there when President Clinton committed to an $8 billion restoration effort.
The Everglades Foundation
The Everglades Foundation was formed by a group of outdoor enthusiasts, environmentalists and residents of Florida who were concerned over the decline of the Everglades and the resulting damage in the nearby natural and protected areas such as Florida Bay. The original founding members, George Barley, a wealthy Orlando developer, and billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, spearheaded the organization’s growth, and shared the same concern over the steady decline of the environmental balance in this unique and delicate ecosystem, due to poor water management and pollution.
The Foundation was created and founded in 1993, and is currently operated as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. This organization is supported by noteworthy performers, professional athletes, and business persons. Included in the list is Jimmy Buffett and golfer Jack Nicklaus.
George Barely unfortunately died in an airplane crash on the way to meet to acoe.
Published: June 25, 1995
MIAMI, June 24— George McKim Barley Jr., a real estate developer and leader of efforts to preserve the Everglades, died on Friday morning in a plane crash near his home in Orlando, Fla. He was 61.
Mr. Barley, Florida’s leading opponent of price supports for the sugar industry, was on his way to Jacksonville to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the restoration of the Everglades when his chartered twin-engine Beechcraft 58 went down. The Federal Aviation Administration said engine failure might have caused the crash.
Mr. Barley was widely known for his statewide campaign to levy a penny-a-pound tax on Florida sugar to help pay for pollution damage to the Everglades.
Mr. Barley, who was born in Jacksonville and graduated from Harvard University in 1956, founded George Barley Inc., a real estate brokerage and consulting company, in 1961.
Mr. Barley is survived by his wife, Mary, and three daughters, Lauren, Catherine and Mary, also of Orlando, and five grandchildren.
Mary Barley is the President of the Everglades Trust.
Mary Barley, president of the Trust whose husband, George was a founding member of the Everglades Foundation, said in a statement: “As toxic algae and pollution threaten our waterways, we draw attention to the hypocrisy of politicians who claim to care about our environment, but instead protect the corporate interests, like Big Sugar, that contribute tens of thousands of dollars to their campaigns.”
I read somewhere that Mary Barley put a big billboard near Mike Collins house. LOL That is so awesome.
Here is Mary Barley’s video from the Big Sugar Summit.
Thank You Mary Barley for caring about the Everglades and our water and caring about us up in the Treasure Coast!