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Film Recounts Marion Stoddart’s Trials & Dramatic Success In Cleaning Up Nashua River P3

Marion Stoddart

The ‘Bad Old Days’ before the Nashua River was cleaned up.


Marion Stoddart [center], Karen Grey, President and Executive Director of Wildlands Trust [left] and Lucy Wallace[right], President of NRWA right participated in a panel discussion of the ‘Work of 1000’ movie. 


Ursula Flury was part of the enthusiastic audience enjoying the showing and panel discussion of the ‘Work of 1000’ documentary.

In the 1960s, the Nashua River was one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the country, clogged with multicolored, toxic sludge from nearby paper mills. The film “Work of 1000” documents the story of housewife, Marion Stoddart, her move to Groton with her family, while living so close to the Nashua river they could smell its noxious fumes. At a low point in her life, she decided to fight her own emptiness by taking on the biggest challenge she could find, cleaning up the Nashua River. Edwards’ film captures Stoddart’s determination and single-mindedness with nuance and perspective, offering not only the story of her victories, but the personal and family risks she took to achieve them.
     Her dramatic success in mobilizing the community showed that change was possible. Marion’s efforts helped get the Massachusetts Clean Rivers Act passed so that companies weren’t allowed to pollute rivers like the Nashua anymore. In the process, she won a United Nations award, was profiled in National Geographic, and had a widely-read children’s book written about her. Thanks to Marion, children in the Nashua River Watershed and around the world have come to understand that one person can make a difference, even when the odds seem impossible.
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