During the month of March, the United States celebrates Women’s History Month and I would be remiss if I didn’t add to the list of notable women being celebrated Lorrie Otto. Lorrie, whose campaign to use native plants and natural landscaping to heal the Earth after she and her cohorts from CNRA successfully banned DDT in Wisconsin led to the founding of Wild Ones, is one of my heroes. Her spirit and determination not to take “NO” for an answer when she knew she was right is something to which we can aspire.
Some have suggested I write Lorrie’s biography. I’m giving that some thought. What an exciting story to write —
- Lorrie Otto was born Mary Lorraine Stoeber in 1919
- from the fields of her family’s farm in Middleton (Wisconsin)
- to the fashion runways in New York
- to the US Army Women’s Air Corps training camp in Texas
- to Bayside (Wisconsin) municipal offices where she dropped off 28 dead robins
- to Madison where she attended every session of the Wisconsin Administrative hearing that led to the ruling that DDT was polluting State waters under the State’s water-quality standards (which because of the national news coverage, led to the banning of DDT in the USA and to Earth Day)
- and then finally campaigning throughout the USA to heal the Earth by preserving, restoring and maintaining biodiversity through the use of native plants and natural landscaping
Lorrie was inducted in the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999.