In Remembering Rachel Carson


“If a child is to keep alive
his inborn sense of wonder,
he needs the companionship
of at least one adult who can
share it, rediscovering with
him the joy, excitement and
mystery of the world we live in.’
____Rachel Carson

"Those who dwell, as scientists or

laymen, among the beauties and

mysteries of the earth are never

alone or weary of life." ~Rachel Carson

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." - Rachel Carson

"One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'" - Rachel Carson

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” - Rachel Carson

My children were 8 and 10 when one of the book clubs I subscribed to offered a book whose title intrigued me and the description ‘sold’ me on it. The book was A Sense Of Wonder, by Rachel Carson. I hadn't yet discovered her other works.

What drew me to her work was this beautifully illustrated book introducing youngsters to the wonders and beauties of the world of nature around them – and for those in cities with little chance to observe it, it was especially meaningful. The photos were gorgeous, though mostly black and white in the early editions. There are later editions I haven’t seen, except for pictures of the new book cover. But I see old editions still being offered on Ebay.

It was about 1965 and I admit I hadn’t been among the first to discover Rachel Carson’s amazing work with fish and wildlife and her avid, passionate interest in the environment. That would come later.

Wonderment and Discovery - An Awe and Awareness of Nature

I admit I hadn’t been among the first to discover Rachel Carson’s amazing work with fish and wildlife and her avid, passionate interest in the environment. I didn’t realize that she almost single-handedly introduced and championed the banning of DDT and other poisonous chemicals in sweepingly wide use then as fertilizers and pesticides. If I had, I would surely have also found and bought her Silent Spring, which is still a “bible” for environmentalist. President John F. Kennedy saw its value soon after she introduced it in 1962, in fact. More recently Al Gore stated in his introduction to the 40th anniversary printing of Silent Spring, “…without this book, the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never have developed at all…”

She’s been called the “patron saint of the environmental movement.” She was a marine biologist and zoologist and worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 15 years, during which she raised public awareness about environmental issues.

Rachel Carson is one of America’s great naturalist poets, as well. In earlier books, such as her The Sea Around Us, Under the Sea-Wind and The Edge of the Sea, she brought the beauties and mysteries of the seas and their creatures alive to countless readers. Her works and life continue to inspire us with that priceless sense of wonder she sought to instill and infuses us with renewed commitment to preserve it for future generations.

On May 27, 1907, Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania on sixty-five acres upon which she grew up and learned precious life-lesson she would bring to the world: In her own words: "The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky, and their amazing life"

She was the youngest of three siblings. They shared a rugged upbringing in a simple farmhouse outside the western Pennsylvania river town of Springdale. Her mother Maria recognized Rachel’s exceptional gifts; and was determined they not be lost in a small town. Her own disappointing marriage and frustrated education made her the more determined that her talented daughter get every chance to fulfill her promise.

Maria taught all her children both the wonder and the sense of the natural world around them by taking them on daily nature hikes. More than that, she taught them respect for it by not allowing them to collect or disrupt the natural treasures they found, nor to become jaded to the beauty and importance of the Earth and its creatures.

Rachel discovered an early desire to write and an innate fascination with the ocean. She was a quiet child and spent much time prowling around in the woods and beside the streams, studying birds, insects and flowers. She had a passion for books and reading.

"I read a great deal almost from infancy," she later recalled, "and I suppose I must have realized someone wrote the books, and thought it would be fun to make up stories, too." So, at a very young age, Rachel decided that she would become a writer.

She was always a good student and though getting her High School education posed hardships for her family to manage, she graduated tops in her class in 1925. The editors of the yearbook wrote a poem for each graduating senior. For Rachel’s they wrote: ”Rachel's like the mid-day sun, always very bright. Never stops her studying … 'til she gets it right.”

She started to Pennsylvania College for Women. now called, Chatham College, in Pittsburgh with an excellent academic reputation. She was already a serious student with the goal of becoming a writer. But, while preparing for that career, she changed her major from English to biology after taking a required biology course ... even though she was warned that, “science was too rigorous a field for women."

She graduated from Chatham in 1929 and enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where in 1932 she received her Master’s in Marine Biology. A summer fellowship study at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory provided her the first chance to see the ocean. Unable to pursue her doctorate due to financial difficulties, she taught Zoology at the University of Maryland.

Rachel Carson's work - - circa 1940 through the 1950s and 1960s

Finally her love of writing and nature were to come together. The rest is history, as they say. Her books and life works have inspired millions to pause and reflect on this Earth and what we owe to it. Her activity in marine biology led her to concern for endangered species and to her active battle against dangerous farming and industrial practices which contaminate the ecology and habitat of the earth's wildlife resources, which was the inspiration and seed of awareness and the measures which have been implemented. But there's hardly any doubt that she would be appalled at the current contamination in progress in the Gulf of Mexico as she was toward earlier instances during her lifetime.

I personally hope her influence will be felt and heeded more, rather than less. It's a voice of reason and responsible, caring stewardship of our planet and its life forms, including our own.

The 1940s and 1950s were prolific writing years when she published these books:

1941-Under the Sea Wind
1943-Food From the Sea: Fish and Shellfish of New England
1944-Food From the Sea: Fish and Shellfish of the South Atlantic
1951-The Sea Around Us
1955-The Edge of the Sea

As mentioned elsewhere, Silent Spring was published in 1962 and A Sense of Wonder. in 1965, after her death.

Over forty-five years ago, this glorious farm-bred girl-child, in whom her mother Maria saw greatness and to whom we pay our respects as the great Rachel Carson, testified before Congress, calling for policies to protect human health and the environment. Her innovative scientific work has led to environmental legislation that still furnishes guidelines for efforts to do just that.

Posthumously she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. No one could deserve it more.

But sadly, weakened from breast cancer and its treatment regimen, she fell ill with a respiratory virus in early 1964; from then the condition grew worse. By February severe anemia from her radiation treatments was detected and by March the cancer had reached her liver. She died of a heart attack on April 14, 1964 at her home in Rockville, Maryland, where she was interred at Parklawn Memorial Park.

A Sense of Wonder was published posthumously, in addition to her letters in Always Rachel, and in 1998, a volume of her previously unpublished work was published titled Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, edited by Linda Lear. All of Rachel Carson's books remain in print

"It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. " - Rachel Carson

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Comments 80 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for such a wonderful introduction and tribute to Rachel Carson. I must admit I never heard of her. I certainly will look out for her boods. She seems just the person and way of writing I like.

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Thankyou for a fascinating insight into someone we could all learn from.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

hello, hello - yes - I've wondered if she were still so well remembered today. In some circles she is - but of course, she was of a much earlier generation. But she was so far ahead of her time! What she realized, though, was urgent and has become more so.

And yes - her writing was great both technically & in that it was so from her heart and soul and with strong conviction. A really good combination!

Thanks for the visit and comments!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

cristopheranton - yes - you're so right! We could all learn from this great thinker - and doer! I'm pleased you felt the message so keenly! Thank you for your comment.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Thank you so much for this, nellieanne - it just fits into my mood. I’m so aware of life today... the wonder of living – seeing all the beauty in nature, even the bare trees and frosted shrubs are beautiful, listening to the birds and the voices of my grandchildren, feeling my emotions, knowing what I know, grateful for everything – for the good and the bad. I was actually doing this for quite a while before I’ve read it in your hub - "One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'" I guess we have to admit that our souls connect in one way or the other in the cyber space. Carl Young described this as ‘Collective memory’. I feel like hubbing something about this. May you have an extremely peaceful day!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great, great lady! Thank you Nell!

Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

To al Hubbers who read this Hub

Wouldn't the world be a far better place if it were full of people like Rachel Carson and Nellieanna Hay ?

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Thank you for that interesting introduction to Rachel Carson...and may you never lose your sense of wonder, dear Nellieanna! :)

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

In this life finding not 'like minds' but kindred spirits is a profound blessing. I had never heard of Rachel Carson and now that I have, through your writing, I shall be visiting hers. Your beautiful accounting both in word and illustration about two astounding women, Rachel and her mother leads me to thank a third astounding woman - Nellieanna, Thank You!

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellieanna, her name was vaguely familiar until I saw the words Silent Spring and then it came back in a rush! I haven't read her other books but I will now. The sense of wonder is something we should take time to nurture in ourselves or find again if we've misplaced it. What a woman she was! I didn't know anything about her and I thank you very much for this article.

I was fortunate to have a father who had a great love of nature. We would go off on hikes together with cameras and sketch pads and he would patiently explain the differences in the leaves and show me the adaptations the plants had made to the environment. He had a great love of the sea and even created an 'ecosystem' for us to study at home. Next to my dad, Jacques Cousteau (oh, I can feel a hub there) was my greatest influence in finding and maintaining a sense of wonder but now I will explore the world as seen by Rachel Carson.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Martie - You've touched upon some things - so many, in fact - of which I'm acutely aware! The Collective Memory phenomenon is one of them. I started this hub quite some time ago on my computer after feeling the memory of getting her lovely book for my children so many years ago (they are 55 and 53 now!) Various things reminded me of that, I guess. But after starting writing it and getting it ready to bring as a hub, I've run across several references to Rachel Carson in quotes or in pictures of nature with discriptions referring to her. I was truly amazed to observe this, especially being rather much aware that she was not a contemporary of any of the folks here, nor even of many of their parents or grandparents, even though her groundbreaking work still underlies so much that is accepted as good practice for preserving the habitat.

I think you should hub about this! It's such a vital, wonderful phenomenon of life and living fully!! I'll love to read it if you do!

And your own feelings of appreciation for all around you - both in nature and in personal experience is so similar to my own feelings about life and what a privilege it is to BE and to LIVE. The abiltiy to value both the "good and the bad" as you expressed is probably the key to being a happy person, as well. When folks expect (like Lucy in the "Peanuts" comics) only "ups" and no "downs" - they're setting themselves up for a lot of bitter disappointments and frustrations. LIFE is dynamic - it moves between its options & contrasts, just as we as living things must do. All ups would be such a static, boring state - it would be a "state" - of being lifeless! Only when we can feel all our emotions ("good and bad") are we even capable of feeling the good stuff!

Thank you, Martie - for visiting and adding such jewels of your own thoughts here to my hub. It's not really "my" hub but belongs to whomever shares it together!

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

I remember well the debate raised over"Silent Spring" and it's referrence that DDT made bird eggs fragile...the book led to a concensus that man-made chemicles if not used with deliberation usualy leads to a detrimental effect...

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, Feline Prophet - how COULD I ever lose a sense of wonder, having such wonderful friends to encourage and to lead the way? Thank you, dear - for visiting and commenting. So glad to be able to have a way to introduce Rachel Carson to thinking people like you!

That was my hope but I never dreamed so many would find it and key into it.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

It is indeed astonishing, rasingme, - to find so many wonderfully kindred souls and like-minds among the HubPage family! You're certainly one of mine.

It's so very gratifying to discover that Rachel Carson really isn't all that well-known these days and to have this way to introduce her and her oustanding work to others who can appreciate what it means. I have sort of taken her for granted and you know how easily one can assume that what one is aware of is common knowledge to all. But with so many years passing, of course - it's not always possible unless it's been emphasized. I guess the work she did has blended into the general Green effort, and now that DDT is no longer the threat it was at that time and new ones have replaced it - well - people feel that the current efforts are brand-new and just emerging, perhaps. Perhaps even when Rachel Carson began her efforts, earlier conservation practices had been going on in the light of what was understood.

I know that my parents were conscious of and observed many areas of protection for our Earth, though at that time I suppose itski resources seemed inexhaustible. Certainly as the pioneers crossed this continent's vast spaces and found its resources, it must have seemed infinite to them.

But even as a kid, I always wondered about that myself. Just looking at my prized Earth globe on my little desk made me think about what a contained place it really is. I felt a kind of stewardship for my little corner of it, at least.

From its center to the outskirts of its fragile biosphere - it is limited and it is exhaustible! Meantime, more and more mankind develops vast means to destroy it without having means of replacing it or fixing major errors such as the Gulf crisis. It's heartbreaking. But the spirit of nurturing it and reviving lost resources is encouraging.

And yes - her mother! Maria was quite a woman!! Had it not been for her, Rachel's great potential could have been stifled or crushed by their almost poverty circumstances. That's a lesson in itself!!

Thank you so much!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Rachel Carson was an exceptional individual and we all owe much to her early environmental efforts. You have summed up her spirit and determination, Nellieanna, in this remarkable tribute to her. In many ways, you also remind me of her - literate, determined and with an always inquiring mind. Long may you reign. :)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Alexandra, dear friend! - What a pleasure and privilege to be able to "introduce" two spectacular women! Yes - her books are valuable and most of all - the lessons and spirit of appreciation she exemplified are worthy of emulation. I'm thrilled for the refresher reminder too! So glad you enjoyed and appreciated the article. Thank you!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

drbj - oh my - you do me way too much honor. My life could have been so much more productive, I know. But I'm always pleased for any opportunity to make up for the slack!

Ever since I discovered Rachel Carson and her marvelous - almost unEarthly - but still so grouded - life work, I've been an admirer. Just trying to imagine how she must have had to go on in spite of attitudes that women weren't capable of what she attempted - wow. And still she just seemed to go about doing what she set out to do and let the distractors fall by the side. I really admire that. It's almost the only way any human being can accomplish anything, and it's not gender-specific. There are always distractors and nay-sayers. Wasting precious attention on their reasons "why not" saps time away from just getting on with WHY SO!

This reminds me of that letter my Dad wrote Mother when they were about to set off on their grand adventure and challenge when first married. He told her that "while people are saying we can't, we'll have been doing it!" - "It" at that juncture was selling home medical encyclopedias door to door in rural Norhtwest Pacific states and Canada. And they did it quite well, each being the top salesperson in men's and women's class. (grin)

Thanks my dear friend for a lovely response. Such a flattering one - I'll take it and try to live up to it!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, Mentalist - so true. "Silent Spring" was quite controversial at the time and in "hock" ever since, I guess. The idea of growing crops without using DDT was unheard of. I remember seeing the crop-duster airplanes flying just over the ground, almost - literally "raining" down the stuff over vast fields of animal and human food and vaporizing it into the air we breathed! Just think how much poison we must have been exposed to, unless we raised our own - and even then, good gardening practices usually involved using the chemicals!

Now that much of our produce comes from other countries, mostly without regulations as to what can be used to make them profitable, and look good in the produce bins and to last well through lengthy transport from there to our stores and fridges - it's still a concern. I even question waxing them - no way to remove that except to peel and lose the nutrients in the peels.

But unless PEOPLE want to and are willing to do the trade-offs to make it a safe and healthy world -- we have a problem. And as long as people can make lots of money the way it's being done, no matter the consequences, - we have the problem. But the consequences won't be reasonable, concerned or forgiving if we keep up as we are,, putting people's need for profits or for desire for perfect fruit and veggies with nary a speck or spot on their skins ahead of everything else. sigh.

Detrimental is putting it mildly, I fear. Thanks for the comments, my esteemed friend. I'm optimistic!

always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

Great tribute to a forgotten lady


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for visiting and leaving your comment, Always Exporiing. Maybe she'll be less forgotten now. People are so responsive to the quality and importance of her work! It's encouraging!

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Rachel Carson's contributions to the modern environmental movement are unquestionable.

Thank you for the lovely quotations and photos, Nellieanna-they remind me that I will be a grandmother for the first time (!) in early September and look forward to sharing the loveliness still in this world with him.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

OH, Lorlie - what a wonderful expectation!! I'm so happy for you! All these new generations who understand the value and beauty of nature and our Earth will be their champions in the future! How good he will know!

Thank you for sharing that and for leaving your comments!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

I agree with you, Merlin Fraser! To visit Nellianne’s hubs, is like drinking tee (or wine) in a beautiful garden. I can smell the flowers! Nellieanne, you know what? I could have been your baby. Now that I know your age, you are so much more inspiration for me. May I become just like you. Sophisticated, elegant, charming.... oh! I need a lot of space to list all your beautiful characteristics. I think internet is such a blessing. Age/time is totally irrelevant. You can have the most interesting conversations whenever you like with anyone who touches your soul, and you don’t have to be dressed-UP. Heaven!

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Thank you for writing this beautiful tribute and introducing me to this gifted poet and naturalist, had not heard of her before. I will check out her books in the library and see if I can find a volume of her work. Its interesting, I finished writing a poem in the a.m., where I end with a sentence bout keeping a "child like sense of wonder, and here you share about Rachel's books and purpose."

Thumbs up!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Martie that is sooooo true. Here we can discover such wonderful friends and associations with interestingn people - none of the holdups and details which so often complicate meeting, visiting and really learning people in real life.

I don't know why exactly it is that we can so much more easily connect below the surface stuff on here -unless, as you say, it's possibly that we don't have to "dress up" in any of the ways we seem to need to otherwise. Doesn't matter if one's appearance is "less-than" one likes it to be when meeting with people. One can be in sweats or barefooted. But it's probably the equivalent to those easier presentations of mind and spirit which can help to find who people really are on here. Odd, too - because at first the thing was that no one had to be "real" on here. And surely some choose not to be. But I made a very conscious choice to be real from the second day I was online. Wasn't that I was unreal the first day - I was too confused to know what I was doing! lol. But it is such a joy to find that others respond to one's straightforwardness. I truly appreciate all your kind words about me. But I am "just me". As you must be just you. I like you just as you are! Thank you for being just who you are!

Among my earliest online friends was a young woman whose nickname was unforgettable: "Nosacredcow" LOL She was in her 20s and I was then in my mid 60s. She called me her 'madcap grannie' LOL. We had so much fun in the old chatroom setting. She'd say to me privately , "come on, Nellita (my nick) - let's work the room!" LOL. Makes me smile. . . .

jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

What a beautiful tribute to Rachel Carson. I am also a fan. I just love all her works and I used her books especially "Silent Spring" as part of the supplementary readings in my Biology classes.

I just love the images you used here! They are so fresh and beautiful and perfect for this tribute to Rachel Carson.

Thank you very much Nellieanna for this work of art!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

VioleltSun - - I'm so pleased that you've found this lovely treasure who was Rachel Carson. It is truly a wonderment that you were just thinking of the words of her title even before you'd heard of it! I can't wait to read your poem if you've published it yet!

It makes me thrilled that I decided to go ahead with this hub. I'd wondered whether anyone would find it as interesting and important as I did. What gratification that so many who might not otherwise have known her now have this link and can learn more - and those, like myself, who knew her but enjoy the reminding are getting one. I'm so pleased!

Thanks so much for reading my hub and writing your lovely comments!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Jill! How grand to learn that you studied her in your biology classes! It's hard to imagine anyone getting a full course in biology especially marine biology - without being acquainted with her works. But of course there are many writers and experts. I just can't imagine any with more feeling for the subject as well as technical skill, though.

I'm so concerned about the marine life of the Gulf of Mexico - and possibly affecting adjoining waters before it's ended. But I heard some hopeful announcements today on the news that there is hope that the outpouring is stopped. But still so much damage even if it "holds" which is still uncertain from what I heard in that report. Let's hope for the best, though.

Thanks for the great first-hand comment about your acquaintance with her work. Glad you enjoyed the graphics I was able to add to the story.

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

What a wonderful tribute to this wonder woman Rachel Carson. She was probably one of the best ambassadors at the time to saving the planet. Greenpeace and many green organizations today would be blessed to have her as their spokesperson. She was a true champion to mother nature and never lost her sense of wonderment.

Her inner child senses were always with her throughout her life and she played as well along the way. I admire people like her and thank God some still exist. She started the revolution of kindness to our earth and her torch is being carried by many.

God bless Rachel and may she RIP.. My Nellieanna you are much like Rachel a champion in your own rights, one classy lady for sure:0))

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ken - you have described her perfectly. One has to wonder whether Greenpeace would have had the impetus it has if she had not blazed the trail with her foresight and passion for helping the planet and all the life it must support! There's a long way to go though and so many anti-forces in its way. The attitude of taking what they can get while they're here and to heck with future generations is no longer acceptable. And arguments that people have always been self-serving and yet the world still exists won't do any longer either. There are more people now with greater resources for either building or destroying our earth's health - not too different from how individuals have choices which way to use our life forces. And it looks like we must stick together on this Earth thing if it's to make it.

Anyway - thank you again for your kind and complimentary comments!! Glad you appreciated this hub!!

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

Awesome, beautiful ! I love how you have presented her.

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Nelliana: Yes, I published the poem, it my latest hub "This Open Heart of Mine". :)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ingenira - Thank you, kind person! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Violet Sun - Lovely poem! I just read it and left a comment! Thanks for letting me know.

The Shark profile image

The Shark 6 years ago from Hampton, NH

Unfortunately most of work in Silent Spring has now been disproved. DDT got demonized in her work and was later found not to contribute to all the horrors that she wrote about. In fact Scientific research showed just the opposite, that DDT was about the most benign pesteside there was. But because it's image was so damaged by the writings in her book and environmentalists using it as their flag, companies stayed far away.

It was also inexpensive to produce and was used widely in Africa to kill malaria bearing mosquitos. But following Carson's work and the hysteria she created, the US and the UN banned DDT. This lead to huge increases of malaria in Africa killing who knows how many.

There have been several indepth news stories about this the last few years as well as books written. One book, Skeptical Environmenatalist,(Lonborg), covers the many hysterias the environmental groups have used in the past, including Al Gore's prediction of doom. Only doom for Gore may be the millions he not only loses in his divorce, but the millions he may lose form his carbon swap scam if he becomes to damaged for them to continue to do business with.

The Shark

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hi, The Shark. Thanks for adding another perspective. While there is obviously difference in that toward "Silent Spring" - as there was in its first days, my article was about "A Sense of Wonder" which still fills me with joy. Have you a view about cultivating that in children, which was the thesis here? I'd love to hear it if you care to share.

Thanks for stopping by and possibly reading the hub. I appreciate your input.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

Nellieanna You are a good writer. No doubts about that. I love the theme of introducing children to the wonders of the environmental world. You know how I am with poetry when I am mostly prosaic. This piece is masterful, and poetic, so you see why I have to sort through and tiptoe through the hub. Anyway, if it had been written by anyone else, I would not have read it. You got me again.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah, thank you, dear Steve. Yes - hehe - I know about you and poetry. I know many folks share that feeling about it, and at times so do I. I can hardly bring myself to read either trite or pompous poetry. I like it when it "speaks to my heart". So I'm happy if mine sometimes hits that jackpot! Mine must come from mine or it wouldn't get jotted down. Anytime I 'try to write poetry' - I can guarantee you'd hate it - as I do!

So I'm enormously flattered and pleased that you did come over and read this piece and that you "get" the purpose for which I wrote it being to share the author's wonderful insight about the wondrous world of nature and her desire, which I share, to open the eyes of children to it - since their eyes are so attuned to it, if they get the chance and have the encouragement. I could have written it about my mother who always had her kids and grands out looking for horned toads, admiring the flowers, painting them or something real and nature-centered. But she didn't write a book about it and Rachel Carson did! haha

That was my reason for writing this hub, certainly not for or from a political or a driven soap-box kind of intent, though I may at times climb on mine about certain issues dear to my heart when appropriate.


So thank you, my friend - for that understanding - and the willingness to read my stuff! I love reading yours too.

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

as soon as I saw the title, I had to click and read. this is a beautiful article and such a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman! simply wonderful!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Rebekah!! Yes - she was. She would have adored your beautiful poem on your profile (if I may quote it here" - let me know if you object and I'll remove it) -

"From the day we arrive on the planet

And blinking, step into the sun

There's more to be seen than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done..."

She was not the first or the only to understand the value of helping others appreciate that wondrous beauty of this Earth and its creatures - but she did something about encouraging it!

Thank you for seeing and coming to read my article!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

What a great tribute to a great woman - and it just so happens I found an old original copy of her book "The Silent Spring" being given away at my library - and I thought it was time to read it again. How sad that this was not required reading in all the schools.

Thanks so much for such an informative hub! Rated way up!

BumptiousQ profile image

BumptiousQ 6 years ago from Asheville, NC


Thanks, Nellianna, for showing me a path I may have otherwise missed on my journey through a world of countless paths -- the path walked by Rachel Carson. Hers is a path worth exploring.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

BK Creative! That's quite a 'find'! Imagine! They were giving it away! WOW! I'm so pleased for you! And I'm pleased that you found my article helpful too! Thanks! And of course, thanks for the good rating.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Bumptious, thank you. It's certainly a path worth looking into! Whatever we can do to promote and support honest caring for and appreciation of "God's green earth" is worthwhile.

While nothing is perfect, nor is perfection the purpose, probably, given mankind's limitations, certainly there is much to be said for the right spirit. Perhaps more good or harm results from motives than from efforts which may or may not resolve the whole problem. All progress has started with steps and taken more steps to show results.

For sure, when a person such as Rachel Carson devotes an entire life to raising awareness, to turning people's minds around to look right at the problem & its causes, and to actively helping resolve the problem, that is a praiseworthy life's work.

If there is still more to be done, it certainly doesn't negate the effectiveness of the work done. In fact it simply proves the enormity of the problem! Thousands of years of neglect and of too much putting the immediate gains ahead of the long term effects - or even ignorance of the damage being set in motion - is bound to take longer than a few decades to fully understand and to resolve.

But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at a bird or a fish encased in black oil, unable to move or to find food if it, too, isn't contaminated - and to realize that the problem there is real and the causes are neither accidental nor natural. Resolving it and preventing future repetitions start with and require sufficient caring about it to make whatever efforts and sacrifices and taking whatever steps are needed to get on with it, in spite of resistance.

I, for one, am grateful for what Rachel Carson did with her life & especially for her genuine spirit of caring and desire to teach new generations to care. This old world is in dire need of that motive, in my humble opinion.

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

Nellie, thanks for including the poem, but actually I cannot take the credit for this beautiful song. It is the first verse of the song, Circle of Life from The Lion King. Lyrics were written by Tim Rice and Elton John performs. I have it on my profile page because it's how I feel about life! I think you're correct that Rachel Carson would have loved the beautiful song about how life continues in a grand circle. I have this hub bookmarked, it's so lovely.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah - thank you for clearing that up. I wasn't sure whether it was an original poem or not but wanted to be sure. Now I must find it and hear it sung! I didn't see "The Lion King", though I know it is a highly esteemed film. Rachel Carson might have liked the entire film!

Thank you for the bookmark and favorable comments too!

miss_jkim profile image

miss_jkim 6 years ago

Nellianna, this was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. Her work has been so important for mankind for generations to come.

Thank you for sharing this most moving post.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Miss_jkim - I'm so happy you visited. She really is a lighthouse! Thank you!

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tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I would like to answer Merlin's question - "Wouldn't the world be a far better place if it were full of people like Rachel Carson and Nellieanna Hay ?" with an enthusiastic YEAH!

I have been thinking for a while about writing a Hub about Carson as she was so prophetic and beautiful.

Thanks for this one. I might still do mine!

Love and peace


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I hope you do! You could cover much more of her work. I honestly just set out to mention her "Sense of Wonder" & what it means for kids to be exposed to appreciation of nature. Of course, she did & wrote so much more!!

Thanks, Tony - for the lovely compliments!

(I'm about to head to the ranch for a few days, so I won't be online. I'm sure I'll get way behind in my hub tending!)

Pratonix profile image

Pratonix 6 years ago from Asia

This is very well written. And the photographs too are very good. I have one book by Rachel Carson, but I haven't read it so far. I love nature, the environment and ecology. I think Rachel was a great lady.

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billyaustindillon 6 years ago

I must say - and unfortunately I have never heard of Rachel Carson but I really like what you have covered here. Both of my sons we started off in a Montessori school and we love it and I see many of the same qualities here with the child identifying with oneself and growing in confidence.

The Shark profile image

The Shark 6 years ago from Hampton, NH

In response to your question to me, I think a sense of wonder in a child is indeed a great thing and should be fostered. It reminds me of a great song by John Denver called The Gift You Are.

There was no more good friend to America's environment then John Denver. He and Marti Muri were almost solely responsible for putting hunderds of thousands of acres in Alaska into protection. He was invited to the Oval Office for the signing of the bill. But John was also a realist, and that is where environmentalists lose it. Just as you point out they, like Al Gore, will continue to quote Silent Spring as gospel, even though having been proven false. But it is good for their agenda. This is why John always said he never supported groups like Green Peace and the Sierra Nevada Club. And although responsible for the Alaskan land preserve he said, it is important to protect it until the natural resources below her surface are needed for the greater good.

Protection of the environment and preservation is important, but using our natural resouces for the good of all Americans is important as well, and should be allowed. The extraction process should be least invasive possible, with restoration following completion.

Instead we face complete banning. This week on the Senate floor, Sen. Ed Markey from MA submitted a bill to have the coast of MA permanently banned from any off shore drilling, ever! The Gulf accident was bad, but it was the first of it's kind in over sixty years of drillig in the Gulf.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

By the time I read her book, A Sense of Wonder, she had passed away. I did not know this. Thanks for a lovely tribute to a guiding light.

equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Taken the circumstances in which Rachel was raised, I tend to have a greater part of admiration for her mother. She was the one whom has recognised a brilliant and dynamic child in the cradle. Her motherly love has nutured and deepend the talent hidden.

What an exceptional family, all supporting Rachel's intelligence to rise above circumstances.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, Pratonix - Thank you for your approval! Hope you get the chance to read the book by Rachel Carson which you have. She does present things well. So glad you stopped and read my hub!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Billy - happy to see you. She was well before your time. You sort of 'had to be there" before her ground-breaking to realize how much disregard for our resources and the planet's care there had been. I was here WELL before her work & know that things were taken for granted as though it is all inexhaustable. It wasn't a worry anyone thought about. Even the most conservative viewpoints just didn't take into account so many factors we now realize are essential to give great attention and take care of to the best of our knowledge (which we much continue to add to and improve). But first - it had to be brought to attention that it was vital.

Ignoring it wasn't deliberate - it was just how things were viewed until awakened to it.

How to rectify the errors was uncharted territory which would start a new way of doing the old things and thinking about responsibility for the planet would begin. Rachel Carson was aware so early-on that everything done may not have been perfect, as so often happens with new inroads and courageous efforts into uncharted territory in search of improvement.

Improvement is not a static one-time occurrence. It's a process. It has to start somewhere and of course - adjustments much be made and new knowledge appears. If this were not so, we'd all still be driving Model Ts and cooking on wood stoves. But change starts and is gradual usually. The Electronic Age has ushered in a sort of "instant mentality" but even so - Steve Jobs keeps improving the iPhone and each neew version is not necessarily perfect.

Lifewise, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring wasn't the fnal word on environmental improvement, but it raised consciousness enough to start it rolling. Without raising of consciousness - nothing would happen and this is an area which needs everyone's raised consciousness if it's to be effective. And some things must change which are difficult.

All this needs to be taken into account.

Yes - Montessori education stresses appreciation of nature and respect for the planet - and that encouragement to the young students. It also gives them a "leg up" on being good students, aware and responsive. Thanks for caring and sharing!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, The Shark - Thanks for your reply. I appreciate that you responded. You have brought up many thought-provoking points. Only when all pros and cons are given honest consideration & respect can real progress occur.

I have just returned from a very busy 4 days at my far southwest Texas ranch, the area & way of life which spawned me nearly 8 decades ago. On the return we passed large fields of wind generators, quite a sight to behold. Since the wind is a constant at my ranch I couldn't help but (again) think what a good land use that could be for it. Agriculture has become a victim of forces at play.

None of the issues is a simple question with a simple solution. But solutions are necessary and should be sought and implemented responsibly. There can be cooperation and resolution if people really want that.

Talk is cheap as they say & negativity is expensive say I. There are several more than one viewpoint and each deserves respect and honest attention.

Thanks for yours and for the visit.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Storytellersrus - Hi. Yes - Unfortunately she didn't get to live to a ripe old age. But what a valuable legacy she created and left.

I love that you came by and read my hub! Thank you!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Equealla - OH yes! Her mother gets my respect and admiration, too! What a shining example she was! Great contributions of parents' children whom they nurtured & encouraged are their accomplishments too. I'm so in favor of mothers giving full attention to their children. And to see it in operation with great results is a marvelous thing!!

Equealla, I suppose all greatness has to rise above some circumstance or another. If it's not poverty - it might just as easily be wealth! An individual must see beyond both adversity and/or ease in order to rise to real exceptional INDIVIDUAL performance and contribution.

Thank you for coming!!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Nellieanna, what a great tribute to a great lady. Wow, it's been many years since I read Silent Spring.

My Dad owned Rachel Carson 's 'Sea trilogy'... now I'm wondering what ever happened to those books, hmmmm gotta investigate.

Great hub once again

hope you're well regards Zsuzsy

mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

What a beautiful testimony to an amazing woman with such honorable contributions to the planet. I read Silent Spring a long ago, too - On a summer break from school. Your tribute makes me want to go back and pick up another copy to read again! Thank you, nellieanna for such an inspiring hub! Thumbs Up! I read it through twice, you did such a nice job!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

ZsuZsy - thank you so much. That's great if it reminded some of us of her work we've appreciated earlier. That would be so great if you located the trilogy! What a treasure, too. I enjoyed recalling her work, though it was quite honestly Sense of Wonder which had grabbed me and held my awe of her all these years. But I admire all her work.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Mischelle, thank you! I find myself wanting to refresh my mind by reading her now, after the passage of time and so many new developments - and problems. I'm so honored that you re-read my tribute to her! That's awesome!

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WildIris 6 years ago

Thank you for bring to my attention the other works of Rachel Carson, especially A Sense of Wonder. I am going to look for this book. The photos you used for this Hub are lovely as is your Hub.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Wildiris! It pleases me deeply to be able to highlight some other of her works which people may have overlooked or forgotten. I truly appreciate A Sense of Wonder, as I'm sure you can tell! Thanks for the nice comments about my hub, too!

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

What a lovely tribute to such a talent. Thanks for turning me on to her.

Healing touch

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

My pleasure! - And thank YOU for stopping by!!

agaglia profile image

agaglia 6 years ago

Nellieanna, What a wonderful tribute to Rachel! You have summed up her life, but provided a thirst to read Rachel Carlson, if you haven't. I HAVE read Silent Spring, but am going to re-read "A Sense of Wonder". Rachel has been one of my heroines for years.

Great Hub. Thanks.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Agaglia - I'm so pleased to hear it! She was an inspiration as a person and as a scientist, for sure! So pleased that you came by, read and commented! Thank you!

I notice you enjoy poetry - so I invite you to stop by some time and read some of my poetry hubs. :->

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Wow, because I am from Asia, never heard her but her work are outstanding, It is a great honor to know her works, ans I am very interested in her now, Maita

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

She's worth seeking out Maita. Glad you're interested in finding more about her! Thanks for commenting!

Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

This woman is one of my muses...Wonderful hub Anne. Thank you for introducing her to a whole new generation. By the way I actually wrote a haiku this spring called "Rachel".

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Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Lilelyth - How pleased I am that it pleases you. :-)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Nellieana - I am almost speechless, wordless, and that very seldom happens. This is such a beautiful essay and you write so elegantly, you draw the reader along with you. We looked at Silent Spring in one of my college courses in the early 1970's, although I am not sure which one.

I knew she was well respected, but I knew nothing about her personally and was not ware of her many other books. I have three grown sons and three young grandchildren...for their sake and mine I will be searching for copies of her books. Thank you, truly, thank you. Theresa

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Theresa -neither am I often speechless, but your words of praise and approval just about leave me there. I'm honored beyond words. I respect you so highly!

And thank you for bringing me back to this hub to refresh my own mind. I re-read the essay and - again - her sense of wonder and the whole life and work of this woman swells my pride, my heart and my tear ducts! Amazing is inadequate to describe her. She influenced my thinking at a relatively early age - or at least plenty long ago- 47 years, ago, in fact. It still stirs me.

Thank you, my friend!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

You are so very welcome. :) I just got through on Amazon and I found almost all of the books you mentioned. I also found some books about her geared for pre-teens. I got them for my grand-daughter Annabel. She is in second grade, but reads on a fifth grade level. Now, I shall be impatient waiting for them to arrive.

It also just occurred to me that I should (and will) include Rachel Carsons, her work and her influence, in my History of Science and Technology course. It is a course I offer once eery two years and it is one of my favorites.

We start with Greek Natural Philosophy, move through the end of the great empires, through the middle ages, renaissance and reformation. then linger at length studying the Scientific Revolution, and continue toward the New Physics - Marie Curie, Heisenberg, Einstein, and so many others.

We just get to the Manhattan Project and Los Alamos, but in the future I think we will end with Rachel Carson and the Environmental issues we must face.

Now, I am really impatient for my books to arrive, but it is a healthy impatience. :) Have a good evening. Theresa

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Theresa - that is sooooo great! I'm tickled that you found the books - and the more recent compilations for pre-teens! I'm sure Annabel will benefit from it and love it!

Including Rachel Carson's work in Environment in your History of Science and Technology is only logical! Bringing it forward to her magical influence will surely leave a pleasant taste in the students' mouths for Science! Might even influence more diligence with caring for our Earth.

I'm the same way when waiting for an order of books, but I'm so overstocked now, there is hardly any space in this house for more! I'm hopelessly addicted and it started when I was about 3 or 4! We had lots of books at home but I'd run off to neighbors' houses to investigate theirs! Finally, my parents gave up and decided that if I loved books so much, to enroll me in a one-room-8-grades-one teacher school at 4-1/2: Miss Willy Long's. Whew - it was an experience! Fortunately it didn't curtail my love of books. :-) And 'Miss Willy" became a friend and mentor.

Thank you, and please have a good evening yourself!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Nellie Anna ~ I loved learning more about an environmental hero who turned our eyes toward nature. The paintings and photos show how we connect to the world around us, as a child wonders in awe! How to keep this 'newness' as we become older? I suppose we must find time to go out into the parks, on nature walks, to the mountains, streams and oceans. Breath in the fresh air and open the lungs. I was drawn in by the introductory poems. A lovely treasure for a new generation would be a gift wrapped book by Rachel Carlson. Voted up interesting, beautiful, awesome. Blessings, Debby

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Debby - I love your comments! How true that a Rachel Carson book for a gift would be a treasure. She was such a pioneer!

Speaking of getting out into nature and appreciating it, have you seen arb's new hub about their visit to the Canadian Rockies? If not, you must see it! It's truly a treat! Of course we can't all do that, but your suggestion about getting out to the parks, and other available natural experiences is so valid. I need that sort of respite from time to time. I've had ample exposure to out-of-doors over my lifetime & it never outlives its need!

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