Have you ever heard of Rachel Carson? The name just might ring a bell. She was a very famous lady in her time.
You non-Alaskans, have you ever seen a bald eagle, golden eagle, or peregrine falcon in the wild? If so, you can thank the spunky Ms. Carson.
Rachel Carson was born in 1907, and grew up with a keen love of nature. She pursued studies in marine biology and zoology and also had the writing bug.
She wrote books about nature and the ocean that were modestly successful, but in 1962, she penned a volume that probably saved many birds from extinction.
The book was called Silent Spring. In it, she pointed out that DDT, used to kill insect pests, also killed many, many other insects. It also lasted a long time, eventually showing up in the prey that raptors consumed.
The effect it had on birds of prey was paper-thin eggshells. That meant potential extinction.
The public was caught up in Rachel’s book, and demand for DDT plummeted. This despite the fact that chemical companies did their best to discredit her research.
DDT was banned in the US in 1972. Its last reported use anywhere was in 1994.
We have hundreds of bald eagles in my area each winter, as well as nesting pairs that stay year-round. I saw my first eagle in the wild when I was 33 years old. I never dreamed of such a thing when I was a kid.