The 2018 Grand Marshal for the Swamp Cabbage Festival is Margaret England who is actually a Florida Native, living in LaBelle. She was born in Brooksville, FL into a Coast Guard Family: Chief Bosin Mate Bob England and mom Mae England. They lived in Floral City, FL, Sanibel Light Station, FL (1946-49), Puerto Rico, Ft. Myers, St. Petersburg, FL and Mobile, Ala. Margaret returned to Ft. Myers in 1961 when her dad retired. She has two children and two grandchildren who live in Tennessee and California. As an adult she has lived in Ft. Myers, Immokalee and now LaBelle since 1994.
Margaret graduated from Ft Myers High School in 1964, received her AA at Edison Community College 1987; BS from the University of South Florida 1990 and graduate work in Library Science with her Masters from Florida Gulf Coast University 2004 (Education with technology emphasis).
She has a very dynamic and varied working and volunteering experiences. She has been a Fire Tower Operator for the Florida Forest Service, Assistant Bookkeeping Supervisor for the Lee County Bank, a School Library Assistant for 14 years. Margaret taught third and fourth grades for three years and was awarded LaBelle Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 1999. She was the LaBelle Elementary School Library Media Specialist for 16 years and she finally retired in 2010. Retirement has given her time to pursue many various volunteer activities.
She is a member of Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church where she serves on the Disaster Recovery Team and is the church’s webmaster.
She volunteers with youth in the community. For the past three years she has been a “Big Sister” to a LaBelle area school students. Margaret is a Hendry County 4-H leader and currently helps with the Wildlife Team and Pollinator Nature Club.
Margaret also serves Hendry County as a volunteer Emergency Management Reservist, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) member and member of the Hendry County Tourism Council. She helped with information for the newly published “Hendry County Birding Guide”. She has helped organize the Hendry/LaBelle Recreation Department’s Earth Week Field Trips for the past 10 years and was an active member the Zac Reyna Playground Committee which established a multiage playground at the LaBelle Civic Park.
She also actively promotes wildlife viewing opportunities in Hendry County. The recipient of the First South Florida Water Management Ambassador’s Award for SFWMD volunteer service in March 2009, she has been the trip organizer for more than 200 trips to STA-5/6 (SFWMD Stormwater Treatment Area 5) since November 2005. She is a Certified Florida Master Naturalist and President of Hendry-Glades Audubon Society and complier for the STA 5/6 Christmas Bird Count.
Other activities include treasurer of the Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Association Sub-Chapter formed by Hendry and Glades County outdoor enthusiasts. She has served as president of the LaBelle Kiwanis Club in 2001-2002 and volunteers at the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store and coordinates the BUGs program for the elementary schools (The Kiwanis awards for kids Bringing Up Grades).
Margaret is so busy in “Retirement” that she wonders how she ever had time to work! She has been on mission trips to Costa Rica and Cuba, with plans to return to Cuba this summer. She was awarded an all expense paid trip to the Audubon’s Hog Island Camp in Maine. You will find her ‘out & about’ in the community – and seldom at home – “There is just so much to do and so many needs”. If you find a void in your life – look to the 2018 Grand Marshal – she will love more helping hands!