We’ve been writing a lot lately about women who make a difference. Here’s another great activist you should know.

Marion Stoddart, 79, is, according to the Boston Globe, considered by many the matriarch of environmentalism in Massachusetts for her work cleaning up the Nashua River. Stoddart’s story is the focus of a new documentary in progress, “The Work of 1000.”

From the film description:

Her dramatic success in mobilizing the community showed people that change was possible, even though they’d lost hope. Marion’s efforts helped get the Massachusetts Clean Rivers Act passed so that companies weren’t allowed to pollute rivers like the Nashua anymore.

In the process, she won a United Nations award, was profiled in National Geographic, and had a widely-read children’s book written about her. Her secret? An ordinary person can do extraordinary things
when they refuse to give up.

The film’s trailer is currently being screened as part of a fundraising campaign to cover production costs. The full documentary is expected to be released in 2009. By the way, the children’s book (a great holiday gift) is “A River Ran Wild,” by Lynne Cherry.

And as if we needed another reason to cheer Stoddart, in 1984 she started a company that organizes outdoor vacations for women over 40. She leaves today for Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

According to a note on the website, it appears that after 23 years of leading women on expeditions around the world, this will be Stoddart’s final trip.


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  • Janet DiNardo November 7, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Such a tremendous individual! Thank you for bringing Marion to our attention.
    I imagine traveling with her would have been an unforgettable experience. She certainly has inspired many to follow through on their wanderlust.