The Loxahatchee River Historical Society presented the 2020 Outstanding Stewardship Award to SPBC Chair Karen Marcus at its annual Lighthouse Luminaries Luncheon May 11, 2020. Jamie Stuve, President and CEO, honored Karen’s long environmental stewardship in Palm Beach County.
“You have only to look at the public green space in northern Palm Beach County to admire the effectiveness and environmental stewardship of Karen Marcus,” noted Stuve. “Riverbend Park, the Hatcher Property, Cypress Creek, and other lands purchased by the County significantly benefit the Loxahatchee River watershed.
“We can also thank Karen for most of the North County beachfront and intracoastal public access-from an expanded Coral Cove to Singer Island.”
More than access, said Stuve, “Karen fought for natural resources to be managed to high standards and recreational areas to offer amenities that are the envy of many other Florida Counties.
“Her strong support of the mission of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center was critical to the growth of the facility, expanded educational efforts and the protection of endangered and threatened sea turtles.
“Many of you may not know how instrumental Karen was in the creation of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area – a Congressional protection of the Lighthouse and surrounding 120 acres. In the federal system an ONA is classified with National Monuments – just to clarify the significance of this.”
LRHS’ Board invited the BLM to discuss the possibility of a national protection the Jupiter Lighthouse property in 2007. Stuve noted that the BLM decided that the LRHS should spearhead efforts to gain permanent protection of the history and nature of the site.
The next day Stuve walked into Karen’s office at the County Commission. “Shortly into the conversation Karen simply said: this is a good thing for our community. I’m in. How can I help?” Stuve recalls.
“From that point on Karen encouraged Congressmen, Senators, and municipal partners to join the efforts to pass a congressional law. Lots of meetings! And lots of diplomacy from Karen, who always showed up, and took the time to work with others to convince them of the importance of our joint efforts. In May 2008, the Congressional legislation was signed into law by President Bush.”
Stuve told the audience that “leaving a legacy is a phrase tossed around too casually. Leaving a legacy that supports a very special and disappearing environment and the creatures and people who share it – now and long into the future, that is truly a legacy. And when those efforts include protecting an astounding heritage dating back thousands of years for future generations — that is a genuine legacy that will be treasured in perpetuity. Karen Marcus, You are truly an inspiration.”