2017 Lifetime Achievement Award
Eugenia Marks of Providence, R.I.
Former senior director of policy at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island
According to the nomination submitted by Greg Gerritt and Jana Hesser, Eugenia Marks is a local environmental legend. Recently retired from a 34-year career at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island (ASRI), “there is no one more knowledgeable, effective, formidable, and respected regionally in the field of environmental advocacy.”
In the 1980s, Marks was instrumental in ASRI’s effort to stop the Big River Reservoir project, protecting 500 acres of freshwater wetlands and 20 miles of active trout streams in Coventry and West Greenwich. Twenty years later, she and ASRI stood up for these lands again against a proposed State Police barracks. Under her leadership, ASRI coordinated the annual International Coastal Cleanup in Rhode Island for many years.
Marks played a role in the recently passed cesspool phase-out law and wetlands protection expansion, has held the environmental advocate seat on the R.I. Water Resources board for decades, and has been involved with the Environment Council of Rhode Island and its Education Fund. She is well-known as one of the state’s leading wetlands experts and advocates.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse noted prior to Marks’ retirement last fall that, “Genie is kind, respectful, and speaks softly, but she also fights tirelessly for the causes she represents, and more often than not, she wins. Her victories have made our state a cleaner, healthier place to live, and have made her one of the most respected environmental voices in Rhode Island.”