Rachel Carson


Rachel Carson

Scientist, Author, & Activist
(May. 27, 1907 – Apr. 14, 1964)

Reading Grade Level:

1st – 2nd

3rd – 4th

5th & up

Rachel Carson showed people how important it is to take care of the earth through her work as a scientist and writer. Rachel was born on May 27, 1907, in the state of Pennsylvania. She grew up on a large farm where she loved exploring the fields and watching animals with her mom. Rachel was a shy child who loved to read and write. When she was 8 years old she started writing stories about animals. By the time she was 10, one of her stories was printed in a magazine!

Rachel kept her love for nature and learning as she grew up. She went to college to learn biology. Biology is the study of how living things like plants, animals, and humans, work and grow. Afterwards, Rachel went to another college to study Zoology. Zoology is a science about animals.

When Rachel came home from college she noticed trees were being cut down to build factories. These factories were letting out smoke and smelly chemicals that spread to the river. This inspired Rachel to write stories to teach people about nature. She enjoyed learning about the sea and wrote books from the point of view of sea animals.

In 1962 Rachel became sick with cancer, but she continued writing. That same year she wrote her most famous book called Silent Spring. The book told people about how harmful pesticides could be. Pesticides are chemicals that farmers use to stop insects from eating their plants. The problem was that the pesticides were also killing birds when they were only meant to kill mosquitos. Rachel wrote about this because she saw that humans were hurting the environment. Rachel knew that if birds were getting hurt this meant that other animals could be hurt as well.

Chemical companies tried to get people not to buy her book. If people learned how dangerous pesticides were they would no longer buy the chemicals for their farms. However, people from all over the country and the world continued to read Rachel’s book. They loved the book because it helped them understand how important it is to stand up for nature.

Sadly, Rachel died in 1964 when she was 56 years old. Silent Spring helped start the environmental movement. Rachel helped Americans understand that taking care of the environment is everybody’s responsibility. Like how we celebrate Earth Day every year! By using her love of science and writing she helped people realize that we can all take care of the earth to make a better home for all living things.

(Rachel worked to stop pollution. Learn about what pollution does to earth.)

Reflection Question

What is one thing you can do from your home to take care of the plants and animals on this planet?