Marion Stoddart was born May 26, 1928 in Reno Nevada. She is regarded as a citizen leader committed to a lifetime of grassroots organizing and coalition building for positive social and environmental change. In recognition of her work, Stoddart has received many awards including the United Nations Environmental Programme's Global 500 Award, the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Environment Award, and a presidential commendation. She was profiled in National Geographic (1995) and in an award-winning children's book A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry; she was a National Women's History Project Honoree as "One of the Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet" (2009); and is the subject of an award-winning documentary film, Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000 (2010).
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.
A champion of international understanding and an adventurer at heart, Stoddart also founded a worldwide travel adventure business for women over the age of 40, one of the first of its kind. For over 25 years, Marion led groups of women from diverse backgrounds on trips around world to meet and learn from one another.
A role model for women and the next generation environmental problem solvers, Marion continues to empower and motivate by speaking to hundreds of professionals, students, and community organizations every year about the difference each of us can make.