by Susie Ma  
The Rotarian -- May 2013

Wendy Marcus calls herself a bag lady: On her frequent walks around her neighborhood, she is never without a plastic bag, which she fills with everything from plastic wrappers to bottle caps to paper clips.

“Litter has always bugged me. Maybe I take after Lady Bird Johnson,” she says, referring to the conservationist (and wife of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson) who, like Marcus, was a Texas native.

When the Rotary Club of Providence celebrated its centennial in 2011, Marcus and other members of the club’s environmental committee persuaded 100 Rotarians to join a campaign to reduce litter. In the now-annual monthlong event, culminating on Earth Day, 22 April, Rotarians recruit friends and family members to pick up trash – in their neighborhood, at their children’s soccer games, wherever they can – for 100 minutes each.

Like Lady Bird Johnson, Marcus also believes in beautification through planting. In 2012, she planted trees in Providence – her club donated eight London plane trees to the city, and high school students helped plant them in a park across from city hall – and in India – where from January to March of that year, she led a Group StudyExchange. When the Rotary Club of Jalandhar Central donated fruit trees to local farmers, Marcus and her team were on hand to help plant them as a living reminder of their visit.