Dr. Mary Jelks has earned the nickname “Myakka Mary” for the amount of time and money she has spent in service to the river and park. In 1961 Dr. Jelks moved to Sarasota with her husband, Allen to start their pediatric allergy practice. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Jelks has collected daily pollen counts from her home for over forty years. She founded the Friends of the Myakka in 1993 and has been an active member of many different environmental groups in the area. In 1994 Dr. Jelks and her family formed the Jelks Family Foundation, an organization with a focus on conservation of natural resources, helping the county to purchase the 614-acre Jelks Preserve along the Myakka River. She is deeply committed to Sarasota, which she believes “is a view of paradise.”
Student interviewer: David Anderson
David Anderson is a recent graduate from the New College of Florida. His senior thesis, an oral history website on Catoctin Quaker Camp, reflects his confidence in the power of new media to make the rewards of oral history more accessible to the broader community. This same principle, along with his great respect and admiration for Sarasota, drew him to this project. As a true believer in the importance of oral narrative, Anderson plans to continue gathering and telling stories, all the while encouraging others to do the same.
Posted in: 2010