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RCC Reports on a Special Event

"50 Years After Silent Spring:
On Roads Old and New"

Held on September 29, 2012

(A day-long, free to the public event)


A Special Event This day-long program honoring Rachel Carson's landmark book was co-hosted by Rachel Carson Council (RCC) and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). Over 80 people attended this two session event. Speakers and listeners met at the Aldo Leopold Auditorium of the National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel, Maryland.  For more about Patuxent see a Special Place below.

MORNING SESSION: Five Renowned Speakers discussed Compelling Issues Arising from Silent Spring. Read their biographies and abstracts here. RCC's reviews of each scientific presentation can be accessed by clicking on the name of the presenter listed below.

1 Prof. Edmund Russell, Historian, University of Virginia, "The Significance of Silent Spring in the U.S. and Abroad,"

2 Dr. Pierre Mineau, Canadian Wildlife Toxicologist and Researcher, "Pesticides' Effects on Birds,"

3 Dr. Phyllis A. W. Martin, U.S. Department of Agriculture Microbiologist and Researcher, "Biopesticides: An Alternative to Chemical Control of Insects,"

4 Lisa Lefferts, Senior Scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, "An Overview: Pesticides and Human Health,"

5 Dr. Val Beasley, Toxicologist, University of Illinois, Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Toxicology, "Aquatic Ecotoxicology and One Health."

AFTERNOON SESSION: Four "Green" Professionals discussed Working for a Healthy Earth While Pursuing Careers. RCC's summaries of talks by the 4 Green Professionals can be access by clicking on the names below.

1 Head of a thriving veterinary center, Dr. Leah Whipple

2 Owner of a small pest control business, Alan Cohen

3 Operator of an organic farm using consumer supported agriculture (CSA), Lance Estevez

4 Head of a company that raises beneficial insects for use as biological pest control agents, Carol Glenister.


A Special Place

The National Wildlife Visitor Center, located on the U.S. Patuxent Research Refuge, was a fitting site for this special event. The Visitor Center is a treasure trove of nature exhibits and meeting rooms. Its features include interactive exhibits that reflect a major theme from Silent Spring: protecting wildlife and ecosystems contamination. The Center is surrounded by a glorious, inspiring natural area-with walking trails and a lake that can be seen from its large windows.

An excellent staff headed by Nell Baldacchino gave valuable assistance with the preparation and running of this event.

The Patuxent Campus includes the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) where groundbreaking work occurred in the past and where significant research continues into the present. In Rachel Carson's time this renowned research center was one of a few premier facilities involved in the study of pesticides' effects on birds and other wildlife. PWRC's scientists established a cause and effect relationship between eggshell thinning and DDT. This research verified numerous reports of dramatic population declines in birds of prey (such as Bald eagles, Osprey, etc.) that had been noted by field observers and had been reported by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring.


Prepared by Dr. Diana Post and Munro Meyersburg
March 27, 2013