By Steve Johnson, director of the Missouri River Communities Network
The Work of 1000 is a 30-minute documentary film that tells the inspiring story of Marion Stoddart, a citizen leader committed to a lifetime of grassroots organizing and coalition building around her local Massachusetts river.
The movie will be shown Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00PM in the Wrench Auditorium of Memorial Union South. Marion Stoddart will be at the screening and will lead a discussion about her experiences. Filmmaker Susan Edwards (a Mizzou graduate) will also be on hand to discuss the film. The showing is free with a suggested donation.
In the early 1960s, Marion Stoddart was a housewife and mother of three who decided to take on the impossible–cleaning up the Nashua River, which ran through her town and was then one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the country. During her years of advocacy, Marion organized a massive citizen effort to rescue the river. She lobbied successfully for legislation, including the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act which was the first State clean water legislation in the country and a precursor to the national Clean Water Act and the development of the Environmental Protection Agency. Continuing that record of success, she petitioned the Federal government for millions of dollars of promised funds to fight the pollution–and won. Her dramatic success in mobilizing the community showed people that change was possible, even though they’d lost hope. Today, thanks to the efforts of Marion and the Nashua River Watershed Association (the non-profit she founded), the river is clean and restored, with wildlife thriving and children swimming.
The film is being sponsored by the Missouri River Communities Network and several other local non-profit organizations that work on clean water issues including: Sustain Mizzou, Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition, Missouri River Relief, Friends of the Big Muddy, Osage Chapter of the Sierra Club, Columbia Audubon Society, and the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. There will be a reception after the film so people can talk to representatives of various organizations and learn more about they can get involved and volunteer to work on clean water stewardship activities in watersheds in their area.
If you’re in town and want to promote this event, contact Tina.Casagrand@gmail.com