Women Who Rock: Rachel Carson
March is National Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a lady we admire each weekday.
RACHEL CARSON (1907-1964)
Rachel Carson was quite a woman. She pioneered the position that humans are a part of nature and that their quality of life is impacted by ecology. Even when faced with criticism by the government and chemical companies for her “radical” point of view, she continued to educate the world about the frail beauty of nature. Born in the town of Springdale, PA, on May 27, 1907, her love of nature and biology was cultivated by her mother, who encouraged her to marvel at their wonders. This love for nature was further developed throughout Carson’s education at the Pennsylvania College for Women, where she earned her undergraduate degree, and at Johns Hopkins University, where she earned her zoology master’s degree in 1932.
Carson began her professional career as a writer of radio scripts for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Also during this phase of her career, she wrote natural history feature articles that were published regularly in the Baltimore Sun newspaper. By 1936, Carson was working as both an editor and scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By the end of her 15 year tenure there, she was the editor-in-chief for all of the materials published by the agency.
By 1952, she had decided to retire from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and focus on her private writing career. Over the next 12 years, Rachel Carson published numerous articles and books on natural history, biology and ecology. However, it was her 1962 book “Silent Spring,” which revealed the deadly side of synthetic pesticides, that cemented her fame as a naturalist. Unfortunately, fame came late in life. She died on April 14, 1964 in Silver Spring, Md., from breast cancer.