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Rivier University Hosts Activist and Community Leader Marion Stoddart

Dubbed “healer of the Nashua River,” Marion Stoddart presented “The Work of 1000 and a Call to Action” at Rivier University on March 14.

The presentation recounted Stoddart’s 1960s battle to mobilize a clean-up of the Nashua River and enact legislation prohibiting future river pollution. It included a 30-minute, award-winning documentary video and discussion with Marion Stoddart.

In the 1960s, the Nashua River in New Hampshire and central Massachusetts was one of the 10 most polluted in the country, clogged with multicolored, toxic sludge from nearby paper mills. Living near the river, Stoddart and her family could smell the noxious fumes. A housewife and mother, she took on the challenge of addressing the pollution and worked to get the Massachusetts Clean Rivers Act passed.

As a result of her efforts, Stoddart received a United Nations award, was profiled in National Geographic, and became the subject of widely-read children’s book, A River Runs Wild by Lynne Cherry. Stoddart’s message: an ordinary person can do extraordinary things when they refuse to give up.

The event was co-sponsored by the Student Government Association and Rivier’s Biology Department as part of their Biology Seminar Series. The Seminar Series was supported by a National Science Foundation grant.