Marion Stoddart is a citizen leader committed to a lifetime of grassroots organizing and coalition building for positive social and environmental change. In the early 1960s, Marion Stoddart was a housewife and mother of three who decided to take on the impossible–cleaning up the Nashua River, which ran through her town and was then one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the country. During her years of advocacy, Marion organized a massive citizen effort to rescue the river. She lobbied successfully for legislation, including the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act. Continuing that record of success, she petitioned the Federal government for millions of dollars of promised funds to fight the pollution–and won. Her dramatic success in mobilizing the community showed people that change was possible, even though they’d lost hope.
Today, thanks to the efforts of Marion and the Nashua River Watershed Association (the non-profit she founded), the river is clean and restored, with wildlife thriving and children swimming. The Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) is recognized nationally as a model for natural resource protection and for its community-based environmental education programs serving thousands each year.
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