The Marion Lake Story

What the Critics are Saying

Highly recommended to audiences with an interest, or with potential interest, in habitat restoration or removal of invasive plants. The Marion Lake Story does an excellent job of showing the hard work and cooperation needed to fight a successful battle and is a testimony to the aesthetic and personal rewards that completing a restoration can have. — Cliff Glaviano, Educational Media Resources Center

A superb example of the way a group of committed people working together can change the status quo. Appropriate for use in a high school or college environmental science class. Students might find themselves motivated to take an interest in restoring ecosystems and could get started by participating in the WAVES project featured on the film’s website. – Richard Lord, Jr., American Biology Teacher (publication of the National Association of Biology Teachers)

An inspiring example of what can be done to correct a seemingly daunting problem when solutions appear elusive. – Brent Marchant, Library Journal

This moving story was an inspiration to our students who are committed to making a difference in the world through their service learning activities. — Wendy L. Doromal, Service Learning Teacher, Timber Creek High School

The film captures the whole process so well—the fundraising, the back-breaking, time-consuming work, the skepticism and then the relief. The result of everyone’s efforts was not simply better views of the water; the return of life and biodiversity to the lake was the real indicator that they had done something magnificent. — Diana Van Buren, (Former) President North Fork Audubon Society

Your video clearly demonstrated that we must take an active role in the mission of ecological restoration, not only as an individual, but as a community. I know the audience, including myself, walked away from your thought provoking Roundtable presentation with a new perspective on the impact, both negative and positive, that we can have on the Earth. — Lindsey Sobolosky, Honors Round Table, Robert Morris University

Told with charm and directness; one comes to love the people in it quickly. — Frederick Turner, Professor of Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas

About the Film

The Marion Lake Story: Defeating the Mighty Phragmite” is the compelling tale of ecological crisis and renewal. An 18-acre lake on the east end of Long Island, NY is being decimated–choked to death by an invasive reed (australis phragmite). Marion Lake provides crucial habitat for migrating birds, rare turtles and other flora and fauna, and is cherished by locals who remember the beautiful lake of their childhood.

One local resident, Lori Luscher, takes it upon herself to write a grant request to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to clean up the lake, but the grant requires matching funds of $100,000. So begins the empowered grassroots fundraising campaign led by local residents and environmental groups.

The Marion Lake Story” chronicles the entire process of individual sacrifice, activism, and ecological renewal of a cherished local resource. The result is an inspirational grassroots model for environmental restoration in action at the local level.


Click here to use the film in your local community as a way to motivate people to take action for clean water.

Pricing and Viewing Options

Home Use

Institutional/Educational Streaming

Discussion Guides and Lesson Plans

“The Marion Lake Story” Screening Toolkit

This guide was developed to help screening host produce a successful event. Our community engagement campaign WAVES - Water Advocates, Volunteers, Enthusiasts and Students - brings together many community groups who are working to preserve, protect and restore planet earth and her closed system water resources.

Read the Book

Buy the Award-Winning Book: In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story by Andrea Weiss (Univ. of Chicago Press: 2008), winner of the Publishing Triangle’s 2009 Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award.