Friday, May 20, 2011

In the footsteps of 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, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ~ Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson is one of my idols. I admire her not only for all of the work that she did, exposing the dangers of garden chemicals and pesticides to the world, but because I think she was a fantastic writer. I aspire to some day be able to write as eloquently as Rachel Carson, and with my words, inspire my readers to protect this beautiful planet that we live on.

For those of you who know nothing about Rachel Carson, she is credited by many as being the person who inspired the environmental movement with her book Silent Spring, about the impacts of pesticides on human and environmental health.

Although she was attacked and ridiculed by the pesticide industry, her research and conclusions were sustained by a Science Advisory Committee appointed during the Kennedy administration. State legislatures responded by introducing pesticide-regulating legislation. Silent Spring was translated into more than a dozen foreign languages. Rachel was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received many other honors. On April 14, 1964, she died in her home in Silver Spring, Maryland.

On Sunday, May 22, there will be a talk entitled Gardening in the Footsteps of Rachel Carson, at 2:30 pm, at the Carderock Springs clubhouse, 8200 Hamilton Springs Road in Bethesda.

Dr. Diana Post, president of the Rachel Carson Council, will speak on gardening without pesticides and showing some photos from Ms. Carson's OWN gardens. . Also present will be Mitch Baker of American Plant, who will be available to answer questions on gardening and maintaining a lawn the organic way.

The program is free of charge but donations to the above council will be accepted. For more information contact

Here is an excerpt from my favorite Rachel Carson book, A Sense of Wonder, which was published posthumusely.

One stormy autumn night when my nephew Roger was about twenty months old I wrapped him in a blanket and carried him down to the beach in the rainy darkness. Out there, just at the edge of where-we-couldn't-see, big waves were thundering in, dimly white shapes that boomed and shouted and threw great handfuls of froth at us. Together we laughed for pure joy -- he a baby meeting for the first time the wild tumult of Oceanus, I with the salt of half a lifetime of sea love in me. But I think we felt the same spine-tingling response to the roaring ocean and the wild night around us. 

Native Plants vs Exotics class - May 21st

The talk below is one in a series of classes but you can attend them individually as well. There is still space for tomorrow's talk, pay on site $5 Prince George's County residents, $6 for non-county residents. Located at Watkins Nature Center in Watkins Regional Park, address and phone number listed below.

Saturday, May 21, 10-11:30 am 
Sustainable Gardening Series: Native Plants vs. Exotics 
Join a Prince George's County Master Gardener for a series of classes that focus on organic, chemical-free, and sustainable gardening practices. The topic of this class is "Native Plants vs. Exotics".

Watkins Nature Center
Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, 20774

Last week to register for JUNE Saturday family program at WYG

The Washington Youth Garden's family program, Growing Food…Growing Together teaches gardening education and healthy cooking skills for the whole family. Each week features a local chef cooking a delicious dish from what we harvest (chefs are listed on our website). Families also harvest and take home a bag of organic vegetables. This is a free program, happening every Saturday through September from 9:30am-12:30pm.

Families can sign up to come to just a few sessions or to come every week. We ask for families who would like to attend a June Saturday to sign up by the end of this week. So please give us a call soon if you'd like to join us.

Registration at the above link – or call 202-245-2709.

Kacie Warner
Education Coordinator
Washington Youth Garden
Friends of the National Arboretum
office: 202-245-2709

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