science education resource

Rachel Carson

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Known For

Rachel Carson once said, "The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."

An outdoorswoman and ecologist, she has been called the mother of the modern environmental movement. Her writings about nature and the environment have inspired people through the ages to appreciate and protect the natural world.

She was the first woman to work as a full-time junior biologist for the Bureau of Fisheries and, within fifteen years, she was chief editor of all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publications.

She believed strongly that human beings were part of nature but had the awesome power to change it, sometimes with devastating effects. She was upset by the use of chemical pesticides and began to write about this to warn the public about the long-term effects of pesticide use. In 1962 she published the now famous book, Silent Spring, where she challenged the use of pesticides and called for a change in the way we looked at the natural world.

She was severely attacked by the chemical industry for her views. They called her an alarmist, but she stood firm and caught the attention of President Kennedy, who was so moved by her book that he ordered the testing of the chemicals in question. In 1963 Rachel Carson testified before Congress, calling for new policies to protect the environment and people from the use of chemicals.

Ironically, Rachel Carson developed breast cancer and died in 1964. But her life work and books have inspired ongoing vigilance to protect human health and the environment.

Rachel Carson has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.