RCLA eBlast Archive

Archive is in chronological order. Click on eBlast title to read more.


Wild Otters: Endearing Companions/Fearless Forest Dwellers/Valued Animal Allies

March 28, 2024

Rachel Carson had high regard for two widely popular books about otters from Great Britain. First came Tarka the Otter in 1927 then Ring of Bright Water in 1960. Both were moving portraits of these joyful, fearless and endearing animals. The American naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton referred to river otters as “the noblest little souls that ever went four-footed through the woods.”

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring helped bring greater public attention to wildlife in general and to the valuable work they perform. During the decades following Silent Spring’s publication, ecologists linked sea otters to beneficial ecosystem services (p. 86, Enric Sala, The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild, 2020). These services by otters have grown in significance such that recently a government program was proposed for relocating sea otters as a keystone species to several of our West Coast marine habitats. (D. Grandoni & M. Mara, “Saving sea otters while keeping them wild.” The Wash Post, 12-5-23).

Three Friends of Wildlife Who Came Through When Needed

October 11, 2023

We mark three notable individuals whose caring compelled them to act as protectors of wildlife when even by doing so they risked unfavorable responses from associates and/or loss of income.

They are briefly described here:

Wall Street executive, William “Bill” McKeever, observed the horrific results of a trophy shark fishing tournament and was deeply moved to embark on a new profession.

Paul Harvey, nationally-known radio commentator and columnist (now deceased) was distressed by the sight of wild birds on his golf course being unable to fly and acting sick. He investigated such incidents and reported his findings to his readers.

Newt Gingrich, a prominent conservative and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives took action during the 1990s to save the 1973 Endangered Species Act from being seriously weakened by members of his own political party.

Congress Can Stop the Federal Preemption of Health-Based Local Pesticide Laws With Our Help

June 25, 2023

(Correction: In “The Carson Connection” section, paragraph 5, the word “initiatives” is misspelled.)

Early in 2023 an out of state scientist researching personal information about renowned scientist/author Rachel Carson spent an afternoon conferring with RCLA staff at the National Historic Landmark House in Montgomery County, Maryland where Carson wrote the environmental classic, Silent Spring.

While at the Carson House, a notice posted in the kitchen caught her eye. It reminded Montgomery County residents that weed and feed treatments of residential lawns were not permitted. It further stated that “Synthetic pesticides cannot be used on lawns in Montgomery County.”

The 2022 Wonder Contest and Ocean Protection

March 29, 2023

Here we consider recent developments reflecting Rachel Carson’s life and legacy; her deep love of the sea and her courageous protection of life on earth from society’s toxic hazards by writing Silent Spring.

In a number of award-winning entries from RCLA’s 2022 Wonder Contest, participants described their delight in the beauty and variety of the awesome life forms that they encountered during saltwater dives. Their essays expressed their welcoming attitude toward certain ocean creatures quite different in tone from that which had been presented to the American public by a prominent media source with information about the oceans in the 1950s. At that time manta rays were described as potentially “among the more dangerous of all undersea game.”

Three Reasons to Cheer

January 29, 2023

If you wake in the night worried about what the future holds for wildlife due to the loss of healthy habitats that they (and we) need to thrive, RCLA offers hopeful news. There is the inspiring campaign by Marylanders to secure sanctuary for species living all around us. There are examples of people sharing experiences of nature’s wonders. Finally, a new publication explores the time in our country, not very long ago, when politicians honored a truce with their counterparts across the aisle so that the passage of legislation to help prepare a healthier future for fellow earth residents and ourselves could take place.

Silent Spring Chapter by Chapter – Chapter 5 “Realms of the Soil”

December 22, 2022

In Silent Spring’s Chapter 5, Rachel Carson introduced the soil as a community of “incredible abundance and diversity… composed of living plants and animals “running the gamut from bacteria to mammals [co-existing] in a state of constant change.” The need for protecting this vital workforce from pesticides, that Carson championed in 1962 remains critical today, 60 years later. Read on to discover — the reasons why.

Silent Spring Chapter by Chapter – Chapter 4: “Surface Waters and Underground Seas.”

October 26, 2022

In Silent Spring‘s “Surface Waters and Underground Seas,” Rachel Carson stressed the life-giving importance of surface water to society, calling it the most precious of all our natural resources. She described how water travels through air, soil, and underground passages before emerging as a spring, or to feed a well, and serve our needs, at the end of its fantastic voyage.

Carson pointed a finger at society for failing to appreciate the great value of our nation’s freshwater supply or the costs in terms of immediate and long term damage to human and environmental health, when chemical pesticides are allowed to poison this vital natural asset and harm the living organisms that depend on it.

Birthrights Then and Now

October 5,2022

As a result of Silent Spring’s publication, in 1962, national awareness of the human need for a healthy natural environment received greater public focus, reaching even to the highest levels of government, and environmentalism emerged as a powerful, growing, political force.

Historically, the term “birthright” has been associated with humans’ inheritance of wealth or entitlements. Since Silent Spring, it has been applied as well to a legacy of environmental conditions that make life on planet earth sustainable for individuals, societies and wild residents of functioning ecosystems.

Three Promising Signs

August 06, 2022

In the summer of Silent Spring’s 60thanniversary year, we mark three promising developments reflecting Rachel Carson’s perspective (as described in each example’s “Note” section). These actions come from various individuals, groups and governments contributing to the well being of people and the planet. Those promoting Rachel Carson’s legacy can take heart in the knowledge that what they do, finds solidarity with others similarly engaged. They may never meet face to face, yet, to paraphrase Robert Frost; “Men [and women] work together… from the heart, whether they work together or apart.” (from: “The Tuft of Flowers”)

Urgent Action Needed Against Proposed House of Representatives Bill HR 7266

July 11, 2022

A proposed bill, HR 7266 has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill).  This is a proposed federal pesticide preemption law.  If passed, it would in effect remove the rights of municipal governments to restrict pesticide use on the local level more than required by state or federal laws. It is intended to make pesticide preemption the law in all of our states.  Now a handful of states including Maryland and Maine are without a pesticide preemption law, thus allowing them to have more restrictive pesticide laws for localities than those pesticide laws that apply statewide or nationwide.

Silent Spring Chapter by Chapter” April 2022

April 18, 2022

A Great Book Celebrated in 2022

In honor of the 60th anniversary year of Silent Spring’s publication, we intend to explore this environmental classic, chapter by memorable chapter, selecting from information that Rachel Carson assembled during 4 years of intense research. We hope, as well, to dispel several pernicious myths that unfortunately have come to be associated with Rachel Carson’s milestone publication.

A raffle drawing for the unique opportunity to stay at Rachel Carson’s cottage in Maine for one week this summer

March 30, 2022

A raffle drawing for the unique opportunity to stay at Rachel Carson’s cottage in Maine for one week this summer is being sponsored by the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Only 100 tickets are sold, at $100. each. The week to be awarded is July 16-23, 2022, with the drawing on March 31, 2022 at 1 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online.

Selected 2021 Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest Winners

February 9, 2022

In 2021 our Wonder Contest generated more winning entries than any previous year! Here, we briefly describe a selection of 6 entries that also are presented as complete text examples, accessible through a link that follows the listing.

A Holiday Wish and Resolution for 2022

January 1, 2022

In his Letter to the Editor concerning “A Mental Health Crisis Among the Young,“ Dr. Eiser, University of Pennsylvania, considers this crisis to be  “… a function of a culture that promotes ignorance, self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement with little sense of decency, mutual respect or self-reflection.” He further asks: “How do you repair a defective culture?” (The New York Times, 12-16-21)


Looking forward to 2022, RCLA is pleased to announce a new, convenient way for you to support our work!

November 29, 2021

Since our founding, RCLA has been working to bring family members closer to to nature, and to the legacy of a courageous American woman.  Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the milestone book that changed history — as well as her final book, The Sense of Wonder are both featured prominently in our activities. The Rachel Carson House — A National Historic Landmark site is the main channel through which we speak to the public. With your generous help we can accomplish much more in 2022 and beyond.

You Can Make a Sense of Wonder Difference – Download the 2021 Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest Flyers

October 16, 2021

You Can Make a Sense of Wonder Difference

“Rachel Carson brought us back to a fundamental idea lost to an amazing degree in modern civilization: the interconnection of human beings and the natural environment.” (Al Gore,“Introduction” Silent Spring 1994 edition)

The 1973 Endangered Species Act: To be Celebrated and Supported

September 14, 2021

“In concept and effect [it is]…the most important piece of conservation legislation in the nation’s history.” (E.O. Wilson)

In 1973 it was approved by a nearly unanimous vote in Congress.

It resulted in a US Supreme Court ruling establishing that “ the federal government had to protect imperiled plants and animals whatever the cost.” (Grandoni, D., “Fish at center of ESA controversy no longer imperiled,” WPost 9-1-21)

Contest 2020: Final Tally/Contest 2021: Call for Entries

June 23, 2021

In the past year, 2020 our Wonder Contest attracted a total of 429 individuals comprising teams that created over 160 entries. They came from 21 states and 5 foreign countries. Award Certificates for 47 Winning Entries were issued for selected entries to our 2020 Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest.

Earth Day Message 2021

April 23, 2021

Our message on this Earth Day considers three erroneous perceptions, or myths, embedded in our culture that contribute to preventing the development of a closer sustainable relationship with nature and with nature-based solutions to various needs (manufacturing, agricultural, conservation, transportation, etc.).

Commemorating Two Legendary Leaders: Rachel Carson and HRH Prince Philip

April 17, 2021

April in Maryland is a time to enjoy the wonderful dawn chorus of birds, and to look for tadpoles in vernal pools. For Rachel Carson, April also meant viewing the all too brief blossoming of her cherished Virginia bluebells – descendants of which still appear around the house where she wrote Silent Spring.

Our 2020 Wonder Contest: Impacts and Entries

February 1, 2021

The quality and quantity of entries to the Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild (Wonder Contest) received during the past troubled year provide compelling reasons for RCLA to continue sponsorship of this special writing competition. The Contest encourages, a more positive focus on nature, in addition to increased cooperation within families and between members of different generations as they work together to create a celebration of nature’s wonders through expressive, accurate writing, whether in poetry or prose. Winning entries came from abroad as well as from the USA, indicating a need to expand the Wonder Contest’s outreach!

How Wild Birds Can Matter: To Families and Farmers in 2021 and Beyond

December 28, 2021

Birds as nature’s representatives can generate in many people feelings of joy, admiration, and even of “magic.” They also can provide us with crucial services of enormous financial value. Such benefits freely given by our citizen bird neighbors have yet to be fully researched or sufficiently employed in agriculture, forestry and elsewhere. Read on for more about these services but first let’s consider birds as a source of wonder.


Nature’s Wonder – Source of Happiness, Health and the Inspiration for Productive Action

November 1, 2020

Nature contacts can be awesome, rewarding and even life-changing whether you are an older adult or a young child.

Recently, two universities (in San Francisco, California and Helsinki, Finland) conducting research on adults and preschoolers found that participants showed beneficial effects from activities taking place in natural, green settings.

A Correction to the letter “Remembering Silent Spring and the Woman Who Helped Rachel Carson Complete It”

September 27, 2020

We apologize for the unintentional deletion of the word “chemicals” from the Paul Brooks quotation appearing directly after “First a few words about Silent Spring from literary sources.” The complete paragraph with corrected quotation follows:

“Rachel Carson’s landmark book, “by awaking us to a specific danger — the poisoning of the earth with chemicals — has helped us to recognize many other ways (some little known in her time) in which mankind is degrading the quality of life on our planet.” (Paul Brooks, writer and Carson’s editor)

Remembering Silent Spring and the Woman Who Helped Rachel Carson Complete It

September 27, 2020

On the 58th anniversary of Silent Spring’s publication this landmark environmental classic remains among the most influential books of recent times. We mark this occasion by pointing out that author Rachel Carson showed her appreciation for the essential help of Ida Sprow, an African-American woman whose work Carson deemed essential to the book’s completion. As 2020 is the 100th year anniversary of Ida Sprow’s birth, we pay tribute to her as well as to the book she helped bring about.

Our Insect Allies/Our Selves

September 7, 2020

Reports from across the planet describe staggering losses of insects including those that Rachel Carson called our insect allies. Insect losses have been documented in Costa Rica, Britain, Germany, Puerto Rico, Europe, as well as here in the US.

Experts attribute habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change to be among the main drivers of insect population decline

Ways to Avoid Deer Damage to Residential Plants

June 30, 2020

Today’s challenging issues can seem beyond one person’s capacity to effectively resolve. However, there is a predicament close to home for many this year that we can approach as individuals or as families – growing plants in spite of visiting deer. Would be gardeners, first time growers, and those who have experience creating healthy soil-based environments where plants can thrive, are invited to join us in considering how best to deter residential deer damage.

Honoring Rachel Carson on the 103rd anniversary of her birth

May 27, 2020

With the current pandemic reshaping our options for what it takes to be protected from a covid-19 infection and for access to sources of nutritious food, many citizens are choosing to plant a garden on their own property. This presents an opportunity for solitary exercise and availability of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. It is also a chance to choose a sustainable course of action to benefit human, plant, and environmental health through a focus on gardening with nature’s immunity (this will be explained in a link below).

Making Time for Wonder on Earth Day and Beyond

April 21, 2020

During this time of enforced home-schooling due to coronavirus restrictions we recall that Rachel Carson as a young girl was regularly kept at home for health reasons. Despite the family’s limited income, by having a devoted mother as her mentor, Rachel grew up with a love of reading and writing, as well as an appreciation for the natural world found in the woods and fields around her family’s farm.

Part 2 (of 3) Report on the 2019 Rachel Carson Open House

March 20, 2020

Our Rachel Carson Open House on May 4, 2019 provided three outstanding speakers from diverse disciplines, whose presentations imparted a wealth of information to our visitors. Our first report on the event focused on the fascinating talk by entomologist, Dr. John Losey. It was sent to you in December 2019, and is now available through the RCLA web site’s home page.

Here we report on the memorable talks by Maya van Rossum and Andrea Barnet, thereby completing the guest speaker portion of our successful 2019 “Spring of Green Awareness” Rachel Carson Open House event.


The Christmas Coyote – A Fable for the Season

December 25, 2019

A fictional narrative “The Christmas Coyote,” was published on December 25, 2003 in The Ellsworth America newspaper of Ellsworth, Maine.

We thank the current editor of The Ellsworth American for giving us permission to reprint “The Christmas Coyote, A Children’s Story by Earl Brechlin, Illustrated by Tina Sullivan-Thorpe” and to distribute it to you.

On one level it is a holiday fantasy for families to share.

2019 Open House Report: Part 1

December 21, 2019

At this year’s 2019 Open House visitors were treated to memorable information from three riveting speakers. The overall result was a fitting tribute to Green Awareness as well as to Rachel Carson’s work and vision.

Individual presentations are scheduled for separate distribution.

First to be considered is Dr. John Losey’s talk, “Beyond Herbicides and Hubris: Why Butterflies, Birds, Beetles and Babies Need Weeds.” This presentation reflected a collaboration between weed scientists and entomologists from Cornell University. Through the holistic perspective that they adopted, they came to understand that what had been deemed pests to be eradicated could be valuable resources that should be conserved under certain agricultural conditions.

57th Anniversary of Silent Spring

September 30, 2019

On the 57th Anniversary of Silent Spring’s publication we send background information and recent noteworthy developments about pesticides. We hope our message acts as an incentive for you to purchase organically-grown food (especially shade-grown coffee) and to use organic care for your residential outdoor surroundings. Please also encourage your school, house of worship, club, and workplace to eliminate pesticides from outdoor areas if they have not done so already.

Further, we urge you to contact your legislators with requests that they Introduce legislation at the state and local levels to ban use of neonicotinoid insecticides, glyphosate-containing herbicides and other hazardous pesticides.

August 2019 RCLA’s Pollinator Garden Report

August 31, 2019

Last month we sent you information about how nature benefits humans, along with details about our 2019 Contest. (Footnote)

This month we focus on one way in which caring individuals such as yourself can benefit wildlife without having to leave your own yard.

That way is to create a sanctuary for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects on your own property, attracting them with native plants that provide nectar, pollen, seeds, berries, and vegetation for them.

Sense of Wonder Contest Update

July 21, 2019

Contacts with nature that are steeped in wonder and joy can reduce teen age depression, lead to more generous and ethical actions, result in new ways of thinking and improve human health.

Physicians increasingly prescribe nature experiences for patients of any age. Spending time in nature has been found to improve: asthma, allergies, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and to increase life expectancy. (Sheikh, K., “Enjoy 2 Hours a Week In Nature, Doctors Say,” The NYT, 6-25-19)

For Rachel Carson’s Birthday May 27, 2019 – A Birthday Remembrance

May 27, 2019

This year the 112th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s birth (May 27, 1907) coincides with Memorial Day when we remember those who died fighting for our nation. Rachel Carson waged a valiant campaign on behalf of America’s citizens — as well as our non-human residents: not only pets, and domestic animals, but also wildlife (including pollinators, animals without backbones, plants, and even microbes) all that take part in the natural infrastructure that sustains this living planet (our web of life). Facts were her weapons, and her well chosen words were the way she delivered them.

SAVE THE DATE – 2019 Rachel Carson Open House

2019 A Spring of Green Awareness

May 30, 2019

Saturday, May 4th — 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
At the National Historic Landmark where she wrote, Silent Spring
11701 Berwick Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Part ll — Perspectives on Winning Entries to the 2018 Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest

March 16, 2019

Here, we focus on award-winning Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest entries;1 highlighting urgent problems that call for action on water pollution — in a local stream and in the ocean. RCLA suggests ways to help correct problems that the entries’ call to our attention. These approaches are relevant, as well, to other hazards that adversely affect the environment 2 and are in need of urgent remediation.

Perspectives on Winning Entries to the 2018 Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest: Part l

February 26, 2019

As promised, we are sharing some outstanding Contest submissions from 2018. As a group, the award-winning entries echo Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder. 1 and illustrate the different relationships that humans can have with natural areas of the world and/or with members of other species. Examples appear below in Sections (1-3).


A season for good news, gifts and reflection – Year-end Appeal 2018

December 22, 2018

This is a season for good news, gifts and reflection. As Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance does every year we ask for your donations, so that we may continue to provide services and information to the public. To you our friends we send warm holiday greetings and hope that you have been enriched by sharing in our work, by reading our web site and by receiving our information throughout 2018.

The Organic Link to Lower Cancer Risks and Sustainable Agriculture

November 5, 2018

Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking, environmental message in Silent Spring appeared nearly 56 years ago. A number of the concerns that confronted her in 1962 still exist. They compel us to keep working for her goals. Two important, recent publications addressing these concerns from different perspectives, arrive at a similar conclusion.

RCLA Reporting — 2018 Rachel Carson Open House

August 25, 2018

On May 5, 2018 the annual Rachel Carson Open House was held at her former home, the birthplace of Silent Spring — a National Historic Landmark Site. The event was sponsored by my husband Cliff Hall and myself along with co-sponsors Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance, Sandy Spring Friends In Unity With Nature, and Alan Cohen.

“Birds and their Ecosystem Services under a New Threat, Need our Help!”

Correction to Contact Information for Secretary Zinke in our 6/30/18 E-Blast

July 2, 2018

We apologize for the nonworking link to the address needed to contact Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke via the Dept. of Interior’s “Contact-Us” site.  Below is the address with working link.  It has been used successfully to send messages to Secretary Zinke: https://www.doi.gov/contact-us

Birds and their Ecosystem Services under a New Threat, Need our Help!

June 30, 2018

Dr. Chris Whelan (Footnote #1), first speaker at the 2018 Rachel Carson Open House on May 5th dazzled our audience with an eloquent, broad-ranging, fact-based presentation including recent scientific updates on avian ecosystem services (Footnote #2). In answer to a question from the audience, he indicated that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) makes it unlawful without a waiver to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell birds listed as migratory birds. This statute has become less bird-protective under policy changes mandated by the U.S. Interior Department’s Secretary Ryan Zinke. Below is RCLA’s perspective on those changes and why speaking out to help birds is needed from all of us, now as never before!

Rachel Carson Birthday Message May 27, 2018

May 27, 2018

Rachel Carson’s birthday on Sunday May 27, 2018 comes during a time when a war on the environment and human health is being pursued by the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  It is noteworthy that historians attribute this Agency’s founding in no small measure to the influence of Rachel Carson and her book, Silent Spring.

Since our nation appears to be going backward from protecting the health of American citizens and the environment to an earlier time possibly even before the EPA existed, it seems instructive to consider similarities between then and now as well as a recommendation from Rachel Carson.

Earth Day story of two high school seniors becoming environmental protectors – Spring Appeal 2018

April 19, 2018

Recently U.S. students caught the world’s attention by acting to protect their schools from gun violence.

Here for Earth Day is the story of two high school seniors becoming environmental protectors. Loss of a woodland spot that had been a youthful place of wonder produced a life-changing effect on the boys as described in their award winning essay, “Our Little Spot.” an entry to the 2017 Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest.  More about this later.

2018 Rachel Carson Open House Schedule of Events

Environmental Activities for the Whole Family

April 17, 2018


In recognition of 2018 as the Year of the Bird, our Open House event will celebrate wild birds for their important services to the environment and how their services benefit humans.

New Series! The Beneficial Work of Wildlife

February 17, 2018

During 2018 a new monthly feature on our RCLA web site will focus on examples of beneficial ecosystem services provided by a number of different species (animals, plants, microbes) living in healthy, natural communities. We call this series — The Beneficial Work of Wildlife.
Ecosystem services can potentially impact all aspects of our lives.


Winter Appeal

December 22, 2017

We, along with you and many others, remain deeply distressed by recent threats to wild populations, the announced plans by our federal officials to remove protections from historic natural areas, and the apparent disdain at high government levels for science-based, nature-sourced data. RCLA can serve as a counterpoint to these and other troubling developments by generating reliable information that reflects Rachel Carson’s vision.

Recent Triumphs for Science and “Silent Spring”

December 10, 2017

Within the past year from two very different parts of the world news has come that two serious maladies (one in people and one in animals) transmitted by insects have been eliminated. In these cases applications of chemical insecticides were avoided or minimized.

One involved malaria in a country where past broadcast spraying of DDT had been widespread. In 2016, however, government officials of this island nation off the tip of India announced that a diversified approach had successfully eliminated the disease and their country was now malaria-free.

Report on RCLA Intergenerational Bird Walk around Cash Lake at Patuxent Research Refuge

November 10, 2017

On Sunday, November 5th the RCLA Intergenerational Bird Walk took place as scheduled at the National Wildlife Visitor Center section of the historic Patuxent Research Refuge, an area established in 1936 by President Roosevelt to conduct wildlife research and to serve as a refuge for birds and other wild creatures.

From DDT to Dicamba: Before and After Silent Spring

November 3, 2017

The hazards associated with pesticides (including DDT) described by Rachel Carson’s  Silent Spring in 1962 and the difficulties recently posed by the herbicide dicamba reported by farmers, scientists and others are briefly discussed in our article. (See link below)

RCLA Intergenerational Bird Walk Oct 2017

September 29, 2017

Join us for a guided bird walk at Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge in Laurel, MD.

October 29, 2017
(Rain/snow date November 5, 2017)
9 a.m.
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708

We will meet in the lobby of the Visitors Center.

55th Anniversary of Silent Spring

Fifty five years to the day since Silent Spring was published

September 27, 2017

We share a few thoughts on September 27, 2017, fifty five years to the day since Silent Spring was published.

In his morning broadcast, Garrison Keillor called Silent Spring a groundbreaking book. He chose as a quote from it: “If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem.”

A Late Summer Place for Wonder: The Carson House Pollinator Garden

September 3, 2017

In 1958 Rachel Carson began gathering material on chemical pesticides for what became her renowned Silent Spring.  She took precious time from her work to observe the nature she loved through the wide windows of her Berwick Road study. In contemplating how best to approach the task that lay before her Carson wrote to a friend, “…I think there is still a place for wonder.”

MCC letter, Dear Friend of RCLA

August 22, 2017

In 2015 RCLA joined with citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland in asking the County Council to help provide better protection of people, pets and the environment from certain pesticides designated as hazardous chemicals which are nevertheless registered by the USEPA for application to residential lawns for nonessential cosmetic purposes. The Council responded to these concerns with Bill 52-14 and the Healthy Lawns Act to go into effect in 2018, intended to prohibit the most hazardous chemical pesticides for use by professional landscapers on lawns for nonessential cosmetic purposes.

Recommendations for Zika Virus Management in Maryland

July 28, 2017

Although it is not believed to have been endemic (transmitted by local mosquitoes) in Maryland, as of 2015-2016 the Zika virus has become a new and potentially serious source of concern for young families. Why? Maryland mothers infected while traveling could give birth to babies with the tragic microcephaly syndrome (smaller heads and smaller brains). In less severe cases brain-damaged babies could suffer from various developmental neurological problems. Recently the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that, “Five percent of pregnant women with a confirmed Zika infection in the U.S. went on to have a baby with a related birth defect.” (Louis, C.S., NYT, 6-9-17). Earlier CDC announced that: “American mothers infected with Zika were 20 times more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects as mothers who gave birth before the [Zika] epidemic.” (McNeil, D.G., “Defects Rise Twentyfold For Mothers With Zika” NYT, 3-3-17). Zika infection during any trimester of pregnancy “can lead to severe birth defects.” (Sun, L., Wash Post, 6-9-17).

Pesticide Misinformation and the Public – Part 2

June 27, 2017

We begin our summer of awareness with “Pesticide Misinformation and the Public Part 2.” A reader of The Philadelphia Inquirer (P.I.) asked RCLA to comment on “Five Questions: From lobotomies to margarine, what scientists got wrong,” in the April 16, 2017 paper. In referring to Silent Spring this piece attributes to Rachel Carson the claim that “DDT causes children to suddenly die.” After carefully consulting Silent Spring and failing to verify such an association for DDT, we uncovered incidents involving similar tragic effects for another highly toxic insecticide. In our comments we present several possible explanations for how this misinformation about DDT might have occurred.

Celebrate Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907-April 14, 1964)

May 26, 2017

Rachel Carson’s 110th birthday anniversary this year finds more members of the public showing concerns about environmental health and the future of life on earth. The unease of a great many Americans reflects plans by the current administration to reduce funds for environmental protection and scientific research as well as to relinquish protection for certain wild lands currently shielded from natural resource exploitation. Many concerned citizens no longer feel comfortable trusting in “so-called authorities” to take care of things. It seems like a good time to invoke Rachel Carson’s prescient 1962 observation, “A sense of personal responsibility is what we desperately need.” (“The Gentle Storm Center,” Life Magazine, 10-12-62).

Rachel Carson Open House on Saturday, May 6, 2017

April 11, 2017

At the National Historic Landmark, built in 1957, where the groundbreaking book, Silent Spring was written.

What: Free public Open House to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the historic home of the scientist/author Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964).
When: Saturday, May 6, 2017 • 12 Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Where: 11701 Berwick Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Program: The Open House will feature talks on environmental topics, music, poetry, and nature-themed activities for children.

“Nature and Music” – A Festival of American Orchestras: Boulder Philharmonic

March 27, 2017

Taking inspiration from its hometown’s natural beauty, Boulder Philharmonic offers a sonic and visual exploration of the great outdoors. Conducted by the orchestra’s Music Director Michael Butterman, the concert features Stephen Lias’s All the Songs that Nature Sings, a Boulder Philharmonic commission with projected photographs of the Rocky Mountains in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. The program continues with the spotlight on mandolinist Jeff Midkiff in his original concerto From the Blue Ridge, plus Steve Heitzeg’s “Winter: Ghosts of the Grasslands” from his Symphony to the Prairie Farm. The finale, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, takes this concert experience to new heights with help from aerialist dance troupe Frequent Flyers.

View from Rachel Carson’s Window

Protecting Frogs’ Habitats for Their Services and Their Songs

March 13, 2017

From Rachel’s study window you can see the portion of her property that she wanted kept wild to serve as habitat for birds and frogs. It is from here in early spring that the “wilderness music” of frogs still arises out of the vernal pools and nearby wet places providing a sense of wonder as delightful to today’s families as it was to Rachel Carson 60 years ago.

Walking along the historic Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal towpath in late February of this year you may have been favored with hearing the voices of Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers (a kind of frog) resonating from the wetlands. They are considered to be “among the most ancient sounds of the earth”.

RC Open House 2nd Notive

February 24, 2017

Don’t Miss This Wonderful Opportunity!

Rachel Carson Open House

Saturday May 6, 2017
From Noon to 3 p.m.
11701 Berwick Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904


Listen: to music by Magpie
Hear: two outstanding speakers Dr. Bridget Stutchbury
and Dr. Jessica Dimuzio.
Choose for purchase: Plants from Chesapeake Natives.

Save The Date – Rachel Carson Open House!

February 8, 2017

On Saturday, May 6th from Noon to 3 pm you are invited to attend the 2017 Rachel Carson Open House as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this historic home.

The event will feature distinguished scientist and leading authority on migratory songbirds, Dr. Bridget Stutchbury. Recognized as an international birding expert, she is a professor of biology at York University in Toronto, where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Ecology and Conservation Biology. Dr. Stutchbury’s Silence of the Songbirds has been described as, “A joy for bird-watchers and non-bird-watchers alike.” (Thomas E. Lovejoy) and “A must read for anyone who cares about our planet and our place in it.” (Donald Kroodsma).

Pesticide Misinformation and the Public – Part 1

January 20, 2017

Instances of misinformation about pesticides that understate the dangers they present have appeared in non-traditional sources, as three examples, below in “Pesticide Misinformation Taking Place Around Us” illustrate. Critical analysis and fact-based responses can help the public evaluate such material.

Additional ways that the public can gain a greater understanding of pesticides’ detrimental actions are found under the section, “What is Being Done…”

Upcoming Program on PBS’ American Experience – RACHEL CARSON

January 9, 2017

Featuring the voice of Mary-Louise Parker as the influential writer and scientist, Rachel Carson is an intimate portrait of the woman whose groundbreaking books revolutionized our relationship to the natural world. When Silent Spring was published in September 1962 it became an instant bestseller and would go on to spark dramatic changes in the way the government regulated pesticides. Drawn from Carson’s own writings, letters and recent scholarship, the film illuminates both the public and private life of the scientist who launched the modern environmental movement.


Holiday Greetings from RCLA – Year End Appeal

December 23, 2016

We at RCLA send a message of thanks for your past support and ask you to consider continuing to donate to RCLA in this giving season.  We send, as well, a true and heartwarming holiday story told by one of our own RCLA officers.  But first why support RCLA?

Rachel Carson’s World: In 1951 and 2016

November 14, 2016

Anyone who has received somber news may very well turn to the natural world for comfort. This is what Rachel Carson did throughout her life as well as in 1951, when she wrote:

“In these troubled times 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. There is modern truth to the ancient wisdom of the psalmist: `I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.’” (from Carson’s original submission to “Words to Live By” for This Week Magazine —obtained from Beinecke Library at Yale U.)

RCLA Intergenerational Bird Walk

November 3, 2016

Join us for a guided bird walk at Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge in Laurel, MD.

November 20, 2016
(Rain/snow date December 3, 2016)

9 a.m.
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708

We will meet in the lobby of the Visitors Center.

Sense of Wonder new brochure

October 5, 2016

Our new brochure:


It contains:

  • The new deadline for entries
  • Recent Winning Entries
  • Suggested Projects for Contest Entries

Open House press release

April 9, 2016

Rachel Carson Open House on Saturday, May 7, 2016

What: “Spring of Awareness,” a free public Open House at the former home of the famed environmentalist/author Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
When: Saturday, May 7, Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Where: 11701 Berwick Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20904.  It was here that Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, the book credited with starting the modern environmental movement.
Program: The Open House will feature talks on environmental topics, music, poetry, and nature-themed activities for children.

Save the Date: Rachel Carson Open House

March 11, 2016

May 7, 2016 Noon to 3pm

Rachel Carson Open House: Spring of Awareness 2016

11701 Berwick Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20904

Bill Berry author of Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists  in Wisconsin Led the Way (2014).  It is 50 years since Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson first called for a ban on DDT.  What followed was a  coordinated effort by bird-watchers, garden club members, university professors, lawyers and others in Wisconsin who believed that we all deserve a voice in the health of the land and water that sustain us. There are lessons for today in this inspiring story.

Announcing a Special Viewing of the Award-winning Songbird Documentary: The Messenger

February 11, 2016

March 29th at 7:30 pm

Cinema Arts Theatre at 9650 Main Street, Fairfax, VA

Pre-ordered tickets only, $10 per person

Based upon the award-winning book, Silence of the Songbirds, authored by the esteemed Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, The Messenger is an artful investigation into the causes of songbird mass depletion, and the compassionate people who are working to turn the tide. The film takes viewers on a visually stunning, emotional journey revealing how the issues facing birds also pose daunting implications for our planet and ourselves.

Sandy Spring Friends School event

February 9, 2016


Frank Niepold, the Climate Education Coordinator in the NOAA Climate Program Office, and John Roome, the Senior Director, Climate Change, World Bank Group, attended the Conference and will present their “Personal Reflections on the Paris Climate Conference”.


RCLA Year End Appeal

December 22, 2015

RCLA sends greetings of the season and hopes for a wondrous holiday to you and yours.  RCLA’s programs this year have generated successful contacts that indicate continuing them would have a favorable outcome and we are sharing this good news.

During 2015 we remained mindful that Rachel Carson’s closeness to nature was a life-long source of deep happiness and helped her as well to summon the strength to write Silent Spring through family troubles and daunting health issues.

A Herbicide’s Impact on Bees, Blooms and Beyond

December 5, 2015

Where bees thrive they provide important services to plants and give a sense of hope for all those who care about achieving a sustainable future. Reports of losses in commercial honey bee colonies and reduced numbers of wild bee populations are of great concern.

Montgomery County, Maryland strives to reduce cosmetic pesticide use in 2015

September 4, 2015

For over 25 years our progressive Maryland county has attempted unsuccessfully to educate its residents about pesticide hazards in order to reduce their use around the home.

This year, we in Montgomery County have in Council Bill 52-14 a way to significantly reduce the applications of certain hazardous  chemical pesticides on lawns for cosmetic purposes.

Sense of Wonder Summer Event

July 7, 2015

Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance (RCLA) invites you to a “Sense of Wonder Summer” event for young children, their families and friends.

Saturday, July 18, 2015
10:30 to 11:30 AM
White Oak Library
(in the Rachel Carson Community Room.)
11701 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 2904

A Story About Fact Checking

June 27, 2015

We at RCLA are pleased to serve as the “go to resource” for answers to certain questions not easily investigated by individuals or available from most public sources.  We earn citizens’ trust by supporting our conclusions with scientific references. A recent example concerns an article placed on a local list serve about which we received several inquiries. The summary appears below with further details provided on the RCLA web site.

National Pollinator Week

June 16, 2015

n recognition of National Pollinator Week, June 15-21, we at RCLA want you to know about efforts being encouraged by President Obama and others to help restore Monarch butterfly habitat.  (See below for summary and link to RCLA’s complete report.)

2015 Open House

A Spring Full of Wonder

April 10, 2015

Join us, your friends and neighbors as we celebrate “A Spring Full of Wonder” with outstanding speakers, exceptional entertainment, and healthy organic snacks, at the National Historic Landmark where Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring.

This Just In – March 2015

March 24, 2015

From WHO World Health Organization’s International Agency
for Research on Cancer (IARC)

On March 20, 2015 IARC released a report (Monograph 112) assessing the carcinogenicity of 5 pesticides (glyphosate, malathion, diazinon, tetrachlorvinphos and parathion).

The Monograph evaluation as it is called relied on expert panels doing a comprehensive review of the latest available scientific evidence including laboratory animals studies and human population studies from the scientific literature.

White Oak Library March Event

March 5, 2015

Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder and of the Wild:
An Intergenerational Event

Saturday, March 14, 2015
10:30 to 11:30 AM
White Oak Library
11701 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 2904

Co-sponsored by the White Oak Library, and RCLA this event introduces the Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild 2015 Contest

Activities for children and accompanying adults will include readings, games, crafts, door prizes & more

White Oak Library Event

February 11, 2015

Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder and of the Wild:
An Intergenerational Event

Saturday, February 14, 2015
10:30 to 11:30 AM
White Oak Library
11701 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 2904

Co-sponsored by the White Oak Library, and RCLA this event introduces the Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild 2015 Contest

Activities for children and accompanying adults will include readings, games, crafts, door prizes & more

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