Ortt’s impact seen all over Marietta

Marilyn Ortt was a force.

Whether or not her issues were your issues, everyone who knew her could agree that she had never-ending passion for her causes. She put 100 percent into them and got more done herself than a team of people could normally accomplish.

A botanist by career, Ortt loved nature and did whatever she could to preserve it, whether it involved the river, the forest, or anywhere in between.

She helped found Friends of the Lower Muskingum, the Marietta Area Recycling Center, Kroger Wetlands, Kris-Mar Woods, the Marietta Natural History Society, Marietta Tree Commission, Marietta’s Earth Day celebration, the Washington County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day and many more earth-friendly endeavors.

Even if it was just one tree in town that she was trying to save, she worked tirelessly to make it happen.

It was that one-tree-at-a time, every-bit-matters approach that over the years had such an important impact on the city and beyond. Marilyn didn’t spearhead one big project and let that be her legacy. She lived her environmental work, piece by piece, small project or big project, hour by hour and day by day, fitting the pieces together to form a puzzle of a much healthier habitat than we would have without her.

There are plenty of people who care about the environment. They may buy a fuel efficient car or make sure to separate their recyclables from their trash, and that is important.

But there are much fewer people willing to donate their lives to protecting their local environment. Marilyn was and we hope someone will pick up her (solar-powered) torch.

Her death on Sunday at age 78 leaves a hole in the community, despite the other well-intentioned, well-informed people who make up the Friends of the Lower Muskingum, who volunteer at the Marietta Area Recycling Center or who help with the hosts of other projects Ortt was involved in.

We hope one of those already doing such valuable work will step up to work at the level that Ortt did for so many decades, not only pitching in but educating others along the way.

Or perhaps someone inspired by Ortt or simply by the planet around them, will decide today is the day to bring action to good intentions.

There will never be another Marilyn Ortt but there is still much of her work to be done.