May 24, 2012

Who on Earth is Rachel Carson?

Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907 and grew up in the tiny town of Springdale, Pennsylvania. As a child, Rachel helped take care of the family's farm animals. Chickens, pigs, and many dogs, were Rachel's constant companions on her nature walks. Rachel and her mother especially loved birding. She also loved reading and writing. As an eleven-year-old she became a regular contributor to the children's magazine, St. Nicholas Magazine.

Rachel's parents taught her strong environmental values throughout her life. Between 1910 and 1920, Rachel watched as the population of Springdale more than doubled. As she grew older, the town grew more industry, became dirtier and more polluted. Rachel never forgot the transformation of her rural hometown into an industrial working-class community. She never forgot the damage these changes caused to the animals, birds, and plants she loved. 

Rachel later attended college and after two years she changed her major from English to biology, at a  time when the scientific field was dominated by men. She went on to become a famous author and activist for the environment. She is most noted for her book, Silent Spring, that led to the study of the use of pesticides and the harm they were doing to plants, animals, and people and ultimately was responsible for the ban on the use of DDT in America. 

Though Rachel Carson died in 1964, her words have no doubt shaped the environmental movement and her words and legacy will live on. 

Rachel Carson Day is celebrated on her birthday, May 27th. Be sure to check our two Rachel Carson biographies to learn more about this fascinating woman.

Grades K–3
ISBN: 978-0-7660-3283-5
Grades 5–up
ISBN: 978-1-59845-116-0

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