The Next MCLA Green Living Event to be Dr. Paul Godfreys Talk on Acid Rain


NORTH ADAMS, MASS.—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces the second event in its spring Green Living Seminar series will take place on Thursday, Feb. 6. The talk, “Acid Rain: How Science and Volunteerism Contributed to Addressing an Environmental Challenge,” will be given by Dr. Paul Godfrey.

This and all subsequent Green Living Seminars will take place on Thursdays, at 5:30 p.m., in room 121 of the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation on the MCLA campus. The theme of this semester’s series is “Environmental Pollution,” and all talks are free and open to the public.

Godfrey will discuss how scientists and lay citizens can capitalize on each other’s strengths to effect real environmental change. The challenge in doing this is large for both parties but surmountable. Godfrey will argue that it is a primary responsibility of scientists to make their work understandable to citizens and to ask citizens for help in translating discoveries into action. 

In 1983, Godfrey started the Acid Rain Monitoring Project (ARM), using volunteers to monitor nearly all of Massachusetts’ surface waters for the past 37 years. The project won numerous local, state, national, and international awards for its innovative use of volunteers and its data quality control. The project helped drive the movement for the Massachusetts Clean Air Act of 1986 that became the model for the National Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990, both greatly reducing acid rain-causing pollutants.

He developed the unique numbering system for lakes and streams used by the state and the structure of the Ponds and Lakes Information System still in use. He developed a modification of the chlorophyll analysis technique, allowing for easier use by volunteers without sacrificing quality.

Before retiring, Godfrey served as director of the UMass Water Resources Research Center for more than 20 years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his master’s in Fisheries Biology from UMass Amherst, before going on to earn a doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, where he specialized in Aquatic Ecology.

This semester’s Green Living Seminar events will take place through April 16, 2020. Following Godfrey’s talk on Thursday, Feb. 6, the next Green Living lecture will be on Thursday, Feb. 13, when Vicky Kelly, environmental monitoring program manager at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, will present “Road Salt: The Problem, the Solution, and How to Get There.”  

Each semester, the MCLA Green Living Seminar Series hosts lectures by local, regional, and national experts organized around a central theme related to the environment and sustainability. The 2020 series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department and the MCLA Berkshire Environmental Resource Center.

Podcasts will be posted online following each presentation at For more information, visit or contact Elena Traister at (413) 662-5303.