Scot McFarlane Contributed photo

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s final scheduled presentation of its 24th annual Winter Speaker Series, “River History & the New Environmental Movement,” is to feature river historian Scot McFarlane.

The event will be held via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, and registration is accessible online at The direct link is

The presentation will explore how river history can contribute to a new environmental movement in the 21st century. River history played a major role in the first successful environmental movement of the 1970s, informing key legal and political battles. Incorporating stories about people and their rivers has the potential to create more effective environmental organizations as they welcome people who have long been excluded from the movement. Finally, specific approaches and mindsets that make it possible to harness the power of river history without getting a doctorate will be considered.

McFarlane collaborates with environmental organizations to tell their river’s history. His website,, receives thousands of visitors from around the world. His writing has appeared in Environmental History, The Journal of Southern History, and The Washington Post.

McFarlane is completing his doctorate in environmental history at Columbia University and has been awarded several fellowships, including ones from the Mellon/ACLS Foundation and the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. A graduate of Bowdoin College, he spent two summers studying the ecology of Merrymeeting Bay. Unusual for an undergraduate, he had his paper “Defining a Nuisance” — chronicling the history of politics and pollution on the Androscoggin River — published while still at Bowdoin. To learn more about McFarlane and his work, visit

Speaker series presentations are free and open to the public. To see speaker biographies, full event schedules, video recordings of past presentations, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay, visit its website,


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