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Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000
October 5, 2013  
Work of 1000

Marion Stoddart proved that an ordinary person can do extraordinary things when they refuse to give up. Thanks to Marion, children in the Nashua River Watershed and around the world have come to understand that one person can make a difference, even when the odds seem impossible.

In the 1960s, the Nashua River in New Hampshire and central Massachusetts was one of the 10 most polluted in the country, clogged with multicolored, toxic sludge from nearby paper mills. Around that time, Marion Stoddart moved to the area with her family, so close to the river they could smell its noxious fumes. At a low point in her life, she decided to fight her own emptiness by taking on the biggest challenge she could find – cleaning up the Nashua. 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. Thanks to Marion, children in the Nashua River Watershed and around the world have come to understand that one person can make a difference, even when the odds seem impossible.

 

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