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Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964)

Books can pry open closed minds.  The books by Rachel Carson helped to open the minds of government regulators, executives in the chemical industry, and the general public about the environment and the dangers of insecticides and herbicides.  Just as mighty forests spring from tiny seeds, Rachel’s powerful books sprang from her childhood fascination with nature.  

Rachel grew up loving nature and exploring its wonders. She thought that everybody should enjoy nature. Rachel wrote: 

"The pleasures, the values of contact with the natural world are not reserved for the scientist. They are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of a lonely mountain top – or the sea – or the stillness of a forest; or who will stop to think about so small a thing as the mystery of a growing seed."

She loved the Beatrix Potter stories about Peter Rabbit and other animals and the picture books her mother read to her.  She had, from a very young age, an especially intense fascination and curiosity about everything that lived in the ocean, even though she grew up in Springdale, Pennsylvania, miles from the seashore!  

Rachel grew up on 64 acres of peaceful farmland that had an orchard, a few farm animals and some woods.  The delicate ecosystem of the Allegheny River was a daily encounter for her, and she enjoyed learning about all the birds and wildlife of the area.  

On this land there were many fossilized ocean-dwelling shells that Rachel and her neighbors collected.  These fossils from millions of years ago sparked her curiosity about the ocean that she had only read about in books or heard about from her mother. 





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