Rachel Carson Tribute

Rachel Carson's groundbreaking 1962 book,  Silent Spring , inspired the environmental movement.

Rachel Carson's groundbreaking 1962 book, Silent Spring, inspired the environmental movement.

By Ann Carper

employee photo By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

employee photo By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

I recently came across this interpretive panel about Rachel Carson (1907–1964), the environmental scientist, educator, and writer whose 1962 book, Silent Spring, warned about the dangers of pesticides and DDT in particular. Located in Glover Archbold Park just off Reservoir Road near 44th Street, the tribute was unveiled in September 2016 by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Rock Creek Park Superintendent Tara Morrison.

In 2013, Norton introduced the Rachel Carson Nature Trail Designation Act, which would have named the trail in Glover Archbold Park after Carson and provided signage outlining Carson's contributions to the environmental movement and her efforts to "educate others about the importance of environmental protection, conservation, and sustainability."  According to a press release from Norton's office, “Carson, a federal employee who wrote for the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, used Glover Archbold Park as a site to draw observations about nature and the environment.”

When the legislation (also introduced by Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey) wasn't enacted, Norton compromised with the National Park Service on signage rather than the trail designation. The panel text also acknowledges the role that Washington philanthropists Charles Glover (1846–1936) and Anne Archbold (1873–1968) played in creating a “capital city oasis" by donating some 100 acres of land.

For more information about Carson, I highly recommend Rachel Carson, a PBS American Experience documentary, which can be watched online or purchased.

(As I researched Carson online, I found a February 6 column from the LA Times predicting a renewal of attacks on Carson for her efforts to restrict the use of DDT. The author also cited a 2014 Breitbart News article that labeled her “The 20th Century's Greatest Female Mass Murderer.")