Mass Audubon Salutes River Advocate at Annual Meeting

Release Date:
December 3, 2013

LINCOLN, MA— Each autumn, a highlight of Mass Audubon’s Annual Meeting is the presentation of the Allen Morgan Award, named for the late environmental crusader and former President of the respected conservation organization.

Morgan helped lead the fight to protect the Commonwealth’s wetlands in the 1960s and ’70s. So it was fitting that at the October 24 meeting, the 2013 award went to Marion Stoddart, who during this same period of environmental awakening spearheaded the effort to save the Nashua River, which winds from Fitchburg into northwest Middlesex County before emptying into the Merrimack River at Nashua, New Hampshire.

During her years of advocacy on behalf of the river—which runs through her town of Groton—Marion organized a massive effort to restore the waterway long polluted by paper mill discharges and sewage. She lobbied successfully for state legislation, including the groundbreaking Massachusetts Clean Water Act, and held the federal government to its promise of providing millions of dollars to fight the degradation.

She also was a co-founder of the Nashua River Watershed Association in 1969.

Marion’s inspirational story of doggedness and achievement on behalf of the Nashua River and the communities through which it flows was the subject of a documentary film, Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1,000, which has garnered national recognition for its subject.


Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at