About the Film

Marion Stoddart: 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. In the 1960s, Marion Stoddart organized a massive citizen effort to clean up the Nashua River, providing a model for effective leadership and advocacy that we can use to drive positive change in the world today.


In the 1960s the Nashua River was declared one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the United States. Years of industrial waste, local dumping, and neglect threatened to remove this river from our lives forever.

Around that time, housewife Marion Stoddart moved to the area with her family, so close to the river they could smell its noxious fumes. Looking for deeper purpose to her life, she took on the biggest challenge she could find—cleaning up the Nashua.

Marion Stoddart organized a massive citizen effort to rescue the river. She lobbied successfully for legislation, including the landmark Massachusetts Clean Waters Act. 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 many had lost hope.

The Nashua River is now an internationally recognized environmental success story and a locally celebrated natural resource.

And Marion has been heralded as an environmental hero.

The work that Marion began in the 1960s continues today through the Nashua River Watershed Association, the nonprofit Marion launched in 1969, a regional leader in natural resource protection and environmental education.

Marion Stoddart’s campaign to clean up the Nashua River shows us that determined individuals can make real and lasting change. The Work of 1000 Civic Engagement Program shares her compelling story, passion, and process–via film and discussion—to empower others to act. Marion made a difference. So can you.

Film Awards and Recognition

The film has garnered praise around the world, including Best Short Film at the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival in New Zealand; Best Documentary Short at the Rivers’ Edge Festival in Paducah, KY; AT&T Award for Environmental Conservation and Stewardship at the Arpa International Film Festival in Hollywood, CA; Projecting Change Award in Vancouver Canada; Speak Out Award at the 44th Annual Humbolt Film Festival, Arcata, CA; Best Call to Action Film at the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival, Venice, CA.

Official Selection
: 2012 Wild & Scenic Film Festival "The Sundance of Environmental Film Festivals", Nevada City, CA; Berkshire International Film Festival, Great Barrington, MA; Brattleboro International Women’s Film Festival; Citizen Jane Film Festival, Columbia, MO; CINE Montana International film Festival, Missoula MT; Bend Film Fest, Bend, OR; Los Angeles International Film Festival; Voices From the Waters International Film Festival, Bangalor India; POWFest, Portland, OR; Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona AZ.