Rachel Carson: An Indelible Mark 50 Years After Silent Spring
The current cover of Inside Region 3
this photo of Rachel Carson
and Bob Hines
biology research in
Florida in 1952.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo
This month's issue of Inside Region 3 celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. This issue is also the inaugural issue of our web publication of Inside Region 3, which will no longer be produced in PDF format. While this issue is still available in PDF, and a full history of our electronic publications remain available, all future monthly issues can be found by bookmarking this web page. We encourage your comments and suggestions as we further develop this site. Please contact Larry Dean for more information.
Photo Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, at the typewriter in her
library at her home in Washington D.C. (Mach 1963) Courtesy photo
by Bob Schutz, AP
September 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Throughout the month, through a series of articles, Midwest Region contaminants specialists have shared their accomplishments and challenges, along with their thoughts on the legacy of Rachel Carson. You can see these articles on-line, and two of them are featured in this issue of Inside Region 3.
A Legacy Continues within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Environmental Contaminants Program
George Wallace.Photo courtesy of
Michigan State University Archives
and Historical Collections
After years of witnessing American robins dying or dead on her lawn each spring, a St. Louis, Mich., resident sent two dead robins to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory. Upon examination of the robins, the Michigan DNR sent the birds to a lab at Michigan State University where concentrations of DDT and its metabolites DDD and DDE were found in the robins’ brain tissue. Soon thereafter, on June 22, 2012, the headline in The Morning Sun, a central Michigan newspaper read, “Dead Robins in St. Louis Poisoned by DDT.” Yes, it was 2012 and, ironically, the date marked the 50th year since Rachel Carson, “launched the environmental movement” by explaining the history and effects of pesticides on our nation’s wildlife in her book, Silent Spring. Rachel Carson’s work led to a ban on DDT in the United States, but the responsibility to understand and mitigate the effects of DDT and other environmental contaminants continues.
Rachel Carson U.S. Fish and Wildlife
If Rachel Carson walked along the shores of Green Bay today, she would observe Forster’s terns flying overhead, notice egrets and herons foraging in near shore wetlands, and perhaps even witness northern pike migrating into coastal wetlands. The Green Bay shoreline is a far cry from the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean near Carson’s Maine cottage where she found the inspiration for her best-selling book, “The Sea Around Us.” But, an inspiring shoreline it is, nonetheless. Thanks to clean-up and restoration efforts in recent decades, there are vast improvements in the Bay and the Lower Fox River.
Rachel Carson: An American Heroine's Indelible Mark
50 Years After Warning of Silent Spring
Rachel Carson, field biologist, at work. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt,
Time and Life Pictures, Getty Images
This September will mark 50 years since the publication of the ground-breaking book, “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. It seems fitting to pause for a moment to pay tribute to this American heroine, Rachel Carson and her conservation legacy. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a hero as one who shows great courage. Carson was that and more.
A brilliant writer, she is credited by many with the modern environmental movement that inspired Earth Day, an international day of environmental awareness that came at the personal cost of slamming head first into a libelous wall of bitter contention and conventional wisdom. .
Take Pride, It's Your Nature:
Wildlife Restoration Program Reaches 75-Year Milestone
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State and federal conservation leaders joined arms with Minnesota’s hunting and shooting community this August to celebrate a success story 75 years in the making, a story authored by the hunters and conservationists of past, written into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, and central to future wildlife management.
To mark the occasion Gov. Mark Dayton declared Aug. 10 Pittman-Robertson Act Day in Minnesota, in honor of conservation legends who three quarters of a century ago stood up for the nation’s natural resources in the face of seemingly insurmountable threats to wildlife populations.
75th Anniversary Proclamation
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo
It was 1933. The Dust Bowl was lifting 100 million acres of America’s heartland into the air, sending clouds of topsoil from Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas billowing eastward as far as New York City. The “black blizzards” blew straight into the nation’s capital, sending an environmental wake up call to a country already reeling from the Wall Street crash of 1929. 2.5 million Americans were on the move in search of a better living, and unemployment was soaring to 25%. The very fabric of our cultural and ecological heritage was unraveling and turning to dust.
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
Celebrates New Visitor Center
Ribbon cutting for new Upper Mississippi River NW&FR
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo by
Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius joined staff from Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge on August 25 to celebrate the grand opening of the La Crosse visitor center in Onalaska, Wis. The event kicked off with opening words and welcomes from refuge leadership and community officials and was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and a day of educational activities.
Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius was pleased to join enthusiastic staff and community partners in welcoming everyone to this new place of learning and sharing. “When it comes down to it, this facility is all about the children. This is a place for families, students and others to start their discoveries of the Upper Mississippi River,” noted Melius.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge:
Pine Creek North Wildfire
Torching on the Pine Creek North Wildfire. U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service photo by Sara Giles
In the wee hours of the morning on Monday May 21, lighting struck igniting a fire in a section of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, just north of the Fishing Loop. By the time the fire was reported to refuge personnel, at about 2:30 p.m., more than 60 acres had already burned and refuge personnel sprang into action. The fire was promptly accessed, and plans were quickly made to put out the blaze.
Fortunately, refuge staff members are intimately familiar with the area and Seney National Wildlife Refuge Fire Management Officer Gary Lindsey had spent many hours preparing for just such an emergency. Many areas of the refuge have established fire plans which assist with managing an incident such as this. With plan in hand, Lindsey and other fire personnel were able to effectively call in resources and begin to suppress the fire.
CNN's Soledad O'Brien Talks On
Children and Nature, Connecting with Audiences
Public Affairs Specialist Valerie Rose Redmond and CNN Broadcast
Journalist Soledad O'Brien. Courtesy photo by Valerie Rose Redmond
Soledad O’Brien, host of CNN’s morning news show, “Starting Point,” can be hard to catch up with, as she’s always on the go. But recently, she paused graciously to chat with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, Valerie Rose Redmond of the Midwest External Affairs Office. In a brief interview, she shared some of her thoughts on children and nature and how to connect with audiences.
Juvenile Higgins’ eye pearlymussel growing within a mobile
rearing unit. The bright ring along each mussels’ edge shows
growth from this year. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Genoa National Fish Hatchery, which safeguards and propagates freshwater mussels for reintroduction into native habitat, is utilizing advanced technology in mobile rearing to evaluate how different water sources support growth and survival of young freshwater mussels. The Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative has dedicated funding to this project to help assess propagation techniques in light of broad-scale stressors to our aquatic resources.
American Fisheries Society Annual Conference A Success
The 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society was held last month at the River Center in St. Paul, Minn. Themed, “Fisheries Networks: Building Ecological, Social and Professional Relationships,” the conference featured a host of fishery workshops, plenary speakers, a tour of historical Mississippi River sites and a scenic run along the Mississippi River, aptly named Spawning Run 5K.