Honoring Grassroots Leadership for Safe Drinking Water


Grassroots Leadership Awards

Wendy Brennan is a mom of two daughters in Mt. Vernon, Maine. After discovering that her well water contained arsenic at three times the EPA safety limit, Wendy became a safe water champion, speaking out and raising awareness about this silent epidemic in Maine.  “A lot of rural families in Maine are struggling paycheck to paycheck, and they can’t afford the hundreds or thousands of dollars it can cost to install a filtration system,” Wendy said after LD 1263 passed. “They needed this law to help protect their children.”

Joanie Hill is a midcoast Maine mom who lives with her family in the farmhouse her parents built. When a doctor treating Joanie told her to test her family’s well water, she learned there was arsenic in it at more than 30 times the federal safety limit. “By the time I learned about the risk, I had been drinking unsafe water for my whole life,” Joanie says. Joanie’s experience motivated her to become a vocal leader for change, speaking out to protect Maine families like her own.

Wendy and Joanie were inspiring advocates for safe water legislation, taking time out of their busy daily lives time and again to drive to Augusta, testify to legislators, and speak to reporters. Thanks to Wendy and Joanie, Maine families like theirs will be better protected from the silent epidemic of arsenic-contaminated well water.

Our Grassroots Leadership Award is given to a community member, educator, or organizational leader or group whose exceptional and often courageous grassroots leadership has empowered community members to create positive change for environmental health at the local, state, or national level. Grassroots leaders are the backbone of our movement, and winners of this leadership award have helped win support for policy and change by speaking truth to power and showing decision-makers how their actions can have an impact on the health of individuals, families, and communities.