Title Screen

The Marion Lake Story:  Defeating the Mighty Phragmite tells a compelling tale of an ecological crisis: the complete degradation — and eventual restoration — of a lake on the east end of Long Island New York that provides crucial habitat for migrating birds, rare turtles and other flora and fauna but is being choked to death by the invasive reed, the australis phragmite.

Lori Luscher, a local resident who watched with growing alarm the gradual disappearance of the lake she grew up on, takes it upon herself to write an eradication grant request to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The grant requires matching funds of $100,000. And, so begins the long haul of seeking donations from residents and local environmental groups and organizing those most American of community events: the yard sale, the street fair and the town hall meeting.  Neighbors are skeptical.  The financial crisis threatens Lori’s ability to raise the matching funds.  The progress is slow, at times, almost imperceptible.  Confronted with such challenges, will the community hold together?

From the first yard sale and eradication summer to the first blooms of replanted natives, we have been there with our cameras, following an exemplary local community pulling together to save the lake and restore it to a bio-diverse habitat for native flora and fauna. The result is an inspirational grassroots model for environmental restoration in action demonstrating that everybody can do something!

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"An uplifting example of how concerned citizens can make a big difference when they tackle something together. Recommended." ✮✮✮ stars Video Librarian
"This story is an inspirational one. This is a superb example of the way a group of committed people working together can change the status quo." Richard Lord, Jr. (Saco, Maine) in ABT -- American Biology Teacher
"This film is highly recommended to audiences with an interest, or potential interest, in habitat restoration or removal of invasive plants. ...A testimony to the aesthetic and personal rewards that completing a restoration can have." Cliff Glaviano, Educational Media Reviews Online
What an inspiring story--and told with such charm and directness; one comes to love the people in it very quickly. Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas
Thank you for your thought provoking Roundtable presentation today! Ecological restoration is such a fascinating and relevant topic in the world today. I know the audience, including myself, walked away from your Roundtable with a new perspective on the impact, both negative and positive, that we can have on the Earth. Your videos clearly demonstrated that we must take an active role in the mission of ecological restoration, not only as an individual, but as a community. Lindsey Sobolosky, Honors Round Table, RMU, Pa.
I finally had the time to sit down and watch your Marion Lake video. It's really good.You captured the whole process so well. The fundraising, the back-breaking, time-consuming work, the skepticism and then the relief when the participants realized that they were winning against the phrags.The result of everyone's intense efforts was not simply better views of the water, which is probably what got many of the Marion Lake residents involved to begin with. 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
Courageous, exciting, inspiring- thanks for making this film. Ray Rodriguez