Framingham State University will host a free public screening of the documentary film, Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000, Sept. 26 at 4:30 p.m.
The award-winning documentary by local filmmakers Susan Edwards and Dorie Clark tells the inspiring story of how Stoddart, a self-described ordinary woman in Groton, was able to accomplish the extraordinary in mobilizing the clean-up of the Nashua River. The Nashua River, which flows through north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, was once one of the 10 most-polluted rivers in America.
Stoddart, who has been honored by the United Nations Environmental Programme’s Global 500 Award and National Geographic for her work as a pioneer of environmental activism, is a citizen leader who has spent most of her life in grassroots organizing and coalition building.
Beginning in the early 1960s, she led the massive citizen effort to clean up the Nashua River, providing a model for effective leadership and advocacy that can be used to drive positive change in the world today.
In 1962, Stoddart began by educating herself about water quality issues. In 1965, she formed the Nashua River Clean-Up Committee, a powerful and effective coalition of businesses, politicians, and activists to improve the river. That committee evolved into the Nashua River Watershed Association, a national model for watershed protection across the United States. Stoddart also worked relentlessly for the passage of the landmark Massachusetts Clean Water Act, which became the first such state legislation in the nation, serving as the standard for the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972.
“Marion is a pioneer of the environmental advocacy movement,” says Carl Hakansson, JD, Associate Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Geography of Framingham State University. “She was an ordinary person who realized her power to make a difference, and as a result her contributions to the environmental movement are extraordinary, and continue today. Our hope is that by sharing Marion’s story, passion and methods we can build students’ skills and confidence in tackling similar critical issues we face today.”
Before the film screens, Stoddart will visit individual classes to discuss service leadership, and after the public film screening she will participate in a question and answer session with students, faculty and the general public.
Lynne Cherry, the noted author of the popular children’s book A River Ran Wild, will co-lead the film discussion session; her book is based on the history of the Nashua River and the clean-up project. She is doing a public event at 1:30 p.m.
“People who watch the film and meet Marion often decide that NOW is the time to get involved," said filmmaker Susan Edwards. "The film engages people, and Marion gives them the inspiration and courage to lead."