top of page

Rachel's Traces

In this particular section of Rachel Carson's website, we will emphasize the endeavors of various creative individuals who are actively contributing to the way we perceive the natural world, thereby continuing Rachel's legacy. These individuals share their work and experiences in their own unique voice. If you wish to have your work featured here, please get in touch with us through our contact form.
CHC Celebrates Earth Day with The Sense of Wonder

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we're incredibly proud to premier a new video featuring our March 2019 performance of The Sense of Wonder, written by Composer-in-Residence Kevin Siegfried from text by Rachel Carson.
Continue reading on

Kevin Siegfried (official website)

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, one of the 100 or so local councils that make up Girl Scouts of the USA, has worked to create a council-specific badge that encourages girls to explore the outdoors, learn how to study environmental health through hands-on science, and discover ways to measure their own environmental impact. This badge, called A Legacy of Conservation, was inspired by Rachel Carson, who grew up in western Pennsylvania. As one of the prophetic voices of the modern environmental movement, she was an inspirational leader and excellent role model for girls.

Designed for girls in grades 6-8, the badge requirements ask girls to learn about Carson’s work, research her impact on the environmental movement, and work to make their own environment happier and healthier. Each Girl Scout badge has five steps. In Step 1, girls create a work of art, movie trailer, or diagram about the environment. Step 2 has girls visiting the Allegheny River, a site named in Carson’s honor, or a local park. For Step 3, girls study the health of their local water, air, or forest. In Step 4, girls learn about their own environmental impacts and how they can reduce that impact. Finally, in Step 5, girls are encouraged to Take Action, a hallmark of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. By spreading the word, rolling up their sleeves to do hands-on cleanup, or decreasing their water usage, girls are able to make a real difference. GSWPA’s hope is that by helping to further Rachel Carson’s legacy, girls grow an appreciation for nature and discover a sense of stewardship for the environment that Rachel Carson so cherished.

Contributed by Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, 2018

Doing research for Rachel Carson

In 1958 between my junior and senior year in College, I had a memorable summer job as Research Assistant to Rachel Carson who was gathering information for her book, Silent Spring. Doing library research in those days before the internet and zerox machines was quite different. It required personal visits to numerous libraries and hand-written summaries of the articles Rachel required. I did not see how she would ever organize so many different sources into a book. As a 20 year old, I was a child of my culture, used to a fast pace of work and to achieving goals quickly.

When the book was finally published, I was invited to the “publishing party” given in honor of Rachel by Houghton Mifflin in New York City. I remember admitting to Paul Brooks, editor at Houghton Mifflin, “I didn’t think she would ever finish this book.” He smiled and responded quietly, “you aren’t the only one.”

After College I continued work as a research assistant in biology, and later got degrees in English and Theology. I finally retired after serving as Associate Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church here in Madison.

Rachel’s legacy to me was her passion for nature, her devoted care for her family, her consideration for others, and her courage to work for what she believed to be right regardless of the odds. When in my personal and professional life I face challenges, I remember Rachel’s quiet and determined courage and it cheers me on.

Contributed by Bette Duff, 2017

Sherrida (Sherri) Woodley

Author of Quick Fall of Light.
(See Books About Carson)

"Rachel Carson came into my life in my 12th summer. I can still remember my mother and me reading Silent Spring together on a vacation trip we made that year and thinking long and hard about the loss of songbirds because of man’s carelessness. Her concern stayed with me over all the years, and when I wrote Quick Fall of Light, it wasn’t just a pandemic I wrote about. Exploitation of an incredible bird took the story very close to Carson’s warnings. Her work continues to inspire mine and I suspect always will."

"The novel I’m working on now, though not as noticeably connected to Carson, is still something I believe she might’ve challenged me to do. Again, I look at extinction, this time of a giant breed of dog, the Molosser. Originally war dogs, they could take on anything. In this novel one such animal baffles a family, then a medical community, in its ability to remedy disease. It is the haunting whispers of a culture’s history that remind me of Carson, this time in the form of a young girl who chooses the healing power of a gentle dog over medicine’s indefinite cures."
( Woodley lives and writes just outside Spokane WA. near Turnbull Wildlife Refuge, June 2011)

Judith Vose

Environmental activist and conservationist. Owner and restorer of the bird sanctuary that once belonged to Olga Owens Huckins on Powder Point in Duxbury, MA.

"Stuart and Olga Owens Huckins had a bird sanctuary with three small ponds behind their modest home in Duxbury, MA in the 1950s. Their bird sanctuary and ponds were among those devastated by aerial spraying of DDT mixed in fuel oil by the State of Massachusetts in the summer of 1957, after which their birds died terrible deaths, the ponds were contaminated, and the mosquitoes were even more abundant than before. Protests in the Boston newspapers against the aerial spraying prompted Olga, a writer, former literary editor at the Boston Post, and a friend of Carson’s, to pen a blistering letter published in the Herald in January1958 luridly describing the death of her songbirds and the contamination of wildlife on her property. She also wrote to Carson to see if she could find someone who could help `stop the spraying of poisons from the air everywhere.’ Huckins’s letter helped convince Carson to turn her literary efforts to alerting the public about the dangers of chemical spraying."


Judi and Terry Vose rescued the property from developers, renovated it, and have renamed it "The Spring House" in honor of Carson. (June 2011)

John D. Juriga

As a teenage nature enthusiast in western Pennsylvania, John Juriga wrote his American literature term paper on Rachel Carson. Little did he know at the time that a bond with Carson would persist into his adulthood. An avid birder and observer of nature, Juriga was the guest curator for two major exhibits that touched on Rachel Carson’s work at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where Carson travelled on Audubon birding trips. He also guided the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with "Awakening Nature’s Voice" (2007), the Rachel Carson centennial exhibit held at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. With the approach of the Bob Hines centennial year, Juriga completed a full-length biography Bob Hines: National Wildlife Artist, 2012.

A busy pediatrician, Dr. John Juriga and his wife, Fran, now live in New York state, renewing their ties to the earth through birding, beekeeping, and gardening. He advises young people to take their education seriously, "Your education may unexpectedly carry you on a magic carpet ride."

bottom of page