News & Politics

Spotlight: Sowing a Legacy

After her husband’s death, she decided to help teach children about saving the planet—and found new life.

“Dave’s plan was to play more golf than anyone,” says Amy Marasco Newton.

When Amy and Dave Newton sold Marasco Newton Group, an environmental consulting firm, in 2002, the couple planned to renovate historic homes, travel, do community work. What they didn’t plan on was Dave’s lung-cancer recurrence. In 2003, in the peacefulness of their Hillsboro, Virginia, home, Amy held Dave’s hand as he let go.

For a year following his death, Newton was numb: “It’s like you’re in a play and you’re watching yourself act, but you’re not yourself at all.”

To “get out of bed and work again,” Newton, now 52, created the Newton Marasco Foundation, a nonprofit that fosters caring for the environment. It stresses education—bringing experts into classrooms, taking kids on field trips, awarding scholarships to those doing “green” work in the community.

The foundation is planning a Rachel Carson Centennial celebration this month, which will include staging a one-woman play about Carson called A Sense of Wonder. As a child in New Jersey, Newton’s mother read passages from Carson’s Silent Spring aloud to Amy and her two older sisters. Her mother’s passion inspired Amy to pursue a career in environmental policy.

Although Newton’s life didn’t turn out as planned, she says it has been fulfilling. And Dave’s passion continues to help others: On April 27, the foundation hosts its fifth annual Environmental Charity Golf Classic. Last year’s event raised $40,000 for school environmental programs.