Winter Speaker Series

2021 Zoom Speaker Series

River History
& the New Environmental Movement

Scot McFarlane, River Historian

May 12, 2021 at 7:00 pm
Register Here for Zoom Presentation

Scot McFarlane

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) final scheduled presentation of their 24th annual Winter Speaker Series, River History & the New Environmental Movement, features Scot McFarlane, River Historian. This event will be held via Zoom and registration is accessible via hyperlink at the top of this page. The event takes place Wednesday May 12th at 7 pm.

This presentation explores 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, we will consider specific approaches and mindsets that make it possible to harness the power of river history without getting a PhD.

Scot McFarlane is a river historian who collaborates with environmental organizations to tell their river's history. His website receives thousands of visitors from around the world. Scot's writing has appeared in Environmental HistoryThe Journal of Southern History, and The Washington Post among others. Scot is completing his PhD 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, Scot spent two summers studying the ecology of Merrymeeting Bay and also met his wife while working on the Bay. Unusual for an undergraduate, Scot had his paper Defining a Nuisance chronicling the history of politics and pollution on the Androscoggin River, published while still at Bowdoin. You can learn more about Scot and his work at

FOMB normally hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the current series is abridged and virtual, running January-May. FOMB hopes to continue their Summer Outside series of outings in 2021, Covid permitting.

Speaker Series presentations are free and open to the public. Visit 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.


Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler