At the June 8 Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Needham, Eleanor Rosellini received the League’s Greta Schirmer award. This award is given each year to honor Greta Schirmer – a member who died in 1980 and was described as “large in accomplishment and high in achievement.”
Lindsay Acomb and Susan McGarvey presented the award to Eleanor. Eleanor has been the chair of the League’s Climate Action committee since 2007. In that role she has led efforts to organize several Fall Forums to educate Needhamites about environmental issues. She is also on the Steering Committee of Green Needham Collaborative where she has been instrumental in the Solar Challenge which resulted in solar panels being installed at High Rock School and in the 10% Energy Challenge to encourage residents to reduce their home energy use.
Michael Greis, Chair of the Green Needham Collaborative, used the following words to describe her, “Because my introduction to Eleanor and my work with her for Green Needham has been all about energy and the environment, an image from the natural world would seem to fit. The obvious image for someone you can depend upon so absolutely and who is visible from everywhere is a rock. But the image that works best for me is a river – constantly in forward motion, unconstrained by artificially drawn boundaries and quietly determined to reach its destination, carving new paths and wearing down or moving around obstacles she encounters.”
At her church, First Parish Unitarian Universalist, Eleanor led the effort to achieve the ‘Green Sanctuary’ designation by her denomination. Her minister, John Buehrens, described her as “an exemplary congregant and citizen, promoting dialogue rather than dogma, the common good rather than her own preferences. She is that rare person: the “citizen articulate” who is also humble enough to truly transform the lives of others, and therefore the life of the community as a whole.”
In addition to her environmental activism, Eleanor is also the author of four books published between 1999 and 2008. Each mystery for elementary school age children involves a sister and her “irrepressible kid brother” who delve into the family past to uncover hidden secrets.
“The list of Eleanor’s contributions could go on,” said Michael Greis, “ but I’d prefer to close by recognizing some of the personal attributes that have enabled Eleanor to be “large in accomplishment and high in achievement” – good humor and civility leavened by a dry wit, a talented writer and editor who values clarity, and passionate commitment to advancing the common good. “