My Story as Told by the First Earth Day

By Rebecca Wodder, River Network Board Chair

In the spring of 1970, I was asked to organize the first Earth Day for my suburban Omaha community. I was a high school senior, interested in biology and involved in civil rights. Earth Day was my epiphany – I saw that I could combine biology and social activism. Eight years later, I was an environmental aide to Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, learning a lifetime of lessons on how to protect our environment. I have worked in conservation ever since.

One of the honors and joys of these past 50 years has been the six years (so far) that I have served on the board of River Network. The nationwide network includes over 6,500 local groups, agencies, tribes, and utilities, connects our rural and urban areas, and touches every congressional district, river basin, and major ecosystem. The potential power of this network is immense.

Even as we celebrate a half century of environmental progress, a global pandemic and the challenges of social distancing bring into high relief the importance of River Network as the backbone and connector of the local clean water and watershed protection movement. The lessons of Earth Day are needed now more than ever.


River Network COVID-19 Resources and Response