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What’s Falmouth Reading? 2011

Introduction 2011 Special Events Book Discussions Lecture Series
For Younger Readers Family Events In The News Videos
    Recommend A Book Previous Picks


Rachel Carson

The What's Falmouth Reading? Committee has chosen Silent Spring by Rachel Carson as the 2011 town wide read. How many times has a book changed the course of history? Silent Spring did exactly that. The book earned marine biologist, Rachel Carson, a place on the Time Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People of the Twentieth Century. She laid out a painstaking description of the hazardous, deadly effects of pesticide use, and issued a rousing call to greater awareness of our environment. The outcry that followed its publication in 1962 forced the government to ban DDT and triggered revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson's book was vital in launching the environmental movement, and is regarded as one of the hallmark books of the twentieth century.

Many of us first read Silent Spring in the mid-1960s. We were appalled at the danger caused by poisons in the environment, the reckless use of pesticides and the seemingly invincible power of the chemical companies to rule agriculture in this country. Back in the 1960s this environmental assault was news to some readers. Why is it important to read Silent Spring now? Rachel Carson's straightforward, yet expressive account of the indiscriminate use of pesticides is as shocking now as it was over fifty years ago. But now, readers are shocked to realize how little has changed. Despite the hope and promise of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 1970, our nation is again facing ghastly environmental challenges.

Rachel Carson's legacy is even more significant to us in Falmouth because of her longstanding connection to the Woods Hole research community. She first arrived in summer 1929 after earning her undergraduate degree, to work as a beginning zoology researcher. She returned in 1932 as a graduate student to participate in zoological research on teleosts (bony fish). After embarking on a career with the National Bureau of Fisheries, she returned again in 1949 for a research cruise aboard the U.S. Fisheries research vessel Albatross. After her first book, The Sea Around Us won the National Book Award in 1951, she spent the summer at MBL on leave from the Fisheries Services to continue research for her next book The Edge of the Sea. In summer 1952 she left the Fisheries Service to write full time and returned to MBL. She remained on the MBL faculty for the rest of her life.

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First Screening: A Sense of Wonder
Saturday, January 29 at 2:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

Actress Kaiulani Lee gives an oral interpretation of Rachel Carson's letters and writings, filmed on location at Carson's summer home in Maine.

Following the film, a talk by Dr. George Woodwell, DDT researcher, founder of the MBL Ecosystems Center in 1975 and Woods Hole Research Center in 1985.

Second Screening: A Sense of Wonder
Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 pm
Falmouth Public Library

Another chance to view the film A Sense of Wonder

Oral interpretation of Rachel Carson's letters and writings by actress Kaiulani Lee, filmed on location at Carson's summer cabin on the Maine coast. DVD screening includes historic footage: interviews with environmentalist Stuart Udall and William Ruckelshaus, first head Environmental Protection Agency.

Author Event: Mark Kurlansky
Saturday, April 23 at 2:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

Noted author Mark Kurlansky will be in Falmouth on the launch weekend for his new book World Without Fish. This new title, geared toward readers ages 12-16 is regarded as the Silent Spring for the next generation. Mark Kurlansky is the author of the bestselling books Cod, The Cod's Tale, The Big Oyster, The Last Fish Tale, and many more titles.

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Falmouth Public Library
300 Main Street
4-week Book Discussion Group
Wednesdays at 7:00 pm
February 2: Introduction, Chapters 1-4
February 9: Chapters 5-8
February 16: Chapters 9-13
February 23: Chapters 14-17, Afterword

St. Barnabas Memorial Church
91 Main Street, Parish Hall
4-session Book Discussion Group
Wednesdays at 12:00 Noon (bring bag lunch)
February 2, 16 and March 9, 16
Public Welcome!
Call 508-548-3863

Woods Hole Public Library
581 Woods Hole Road
Tuesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm
Panel Discussion of Silent Spring by:
Rev. Deborah Warner (Church of the Messiah),
Dr. Gary Borisy (MBL Director, CEO), and
Prosser Gifford (local scholar and WHPL President)

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Poison in the Wild
Saturday, February 5 at 2:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

Ian Ives, director of Long Pasture Audubon Sanctuary, will talk about recovery of Ospreys from DDT and threats to bird populations from new toxins in the environment.

The Birds & the Bees, & Bugs!
Tuesday, March 1 at 7:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

This is a panel discussion suitable for Junior High and up. The discussion will be about the importance of all organisms in the web of life.

The panel will consist of: Mark Flaherty, Wellfleet Audubon and Cape Cod Bird Club President; Julie Lipkin, Barnstable Beekeepers and bee blogger; Adam Lazarus, Entomologist, ant specialist, and video presenter at Woods Hole's 2010 TEDx event.

Poisons in the Home
Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

The first part of the program will be a discussion of toxins commonly found in personal care and household products by Cheryl Osimo, Cape Cod Communications Director for Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Co-Founder of Silent Spring Institute.

The second part of the program will be a screening of the documentary film Living Downstream, based on the book of the same title by Sandra Steingraber, PhD.

Following the film there will be discussion facilitated by GreenCAPE board member Sue Phelan.

Critical Path to a Sustainable World
Saturday, March 26 at 2:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

Greg Watson, (Falmouth resident; Past: Executive Director of New Alchemy Institute and Commissioner of MA Department of Agriculture; Currently: member of MA Energy and Environment Commission) shares his experience and ideas on how to live our love for the earth.

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Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder, by Thomas Locker (Grades 2-5)

Who on Earth is Rachel Carson? Mother of the Environmental Movement, by Marty Fletcher (Grades 5-8)

Rachel Carson: a Twentieth-Century Life, by Ellen Levine (Grades 6-9)

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Kids Caring for the Earth
Saturday, March 12 at 10:30 am
Falmouth Public Library
(Co-sponsored by the Coalition for Children)

With Cape Cod Naturalist, Kim Torres.

Raptor Rapture!
Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00 pm
Falmouth Public Library

With Marla Isaac of New England Reptiles and Raptors. Meet beautiful and ferocious birds of prey!

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'Silent Spring' Keeps Us Talking by Bob Haskell
Reprinted as originally published in The Falmouth Enterprise with the permission of Bob Haskell.

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Cape & Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative

Local membership organization supporting a sustainable energy future for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket.

Cape & Islands Self-Reliance Corporation
Promotes environmentally sound technologies & sustainable practices in energy use.  Community buying cooperative, providing services, affordable group rates for clean energy..

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension     
Public info & education on topics as diverse as deer ticks & water quality, integrated pest management, hazardous waste & more.   Research-based knowledge from UMASS Amherst.

ATSDR. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Svcs.

Using the best science, taking responsive public health actions & providing authoritative info to prevent harmful exposures & diseases related to toxic substances.

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics         
Nonprofit coalition of Environment Working Group, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, Friends of the Earth & other organizations.  (Because Cosmetics are not regulated by the FDA, CSC works to enact a Safe Cosmetics Act.)

Coalition to Save Buzzards Bay     

Membership supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection & sustainable use of the Bay & its watershed. Works to improve health of the Bay ecosystem through education, conservation, research & advocacy.

Energy Savers

U.S. Dept. of Energy.  Info on energy efficiency & renewable energy: solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower & biomass.   Tabs for home, vehicle & workplace, rebates & tax credits, products & services.    

EPA: Cleaning Up Our Land, Water and Air     

Info on cleanups around the country, what citizens can do to help & EPA's long-term stewardship programs.  Use  clickable map for cleanup info by region or program. Info on available cleanup grants & funding opportunities in different communities.

EWG:  Environmental Working Group         

Nonprofit research & information organization covering health/toxics, farming, energy choices, health tips, shoppers’ guide to produce,  kid-safe chemicals & much more.

The Good Guide    

Green, healthy & safe products: Thousands of ratings & reviews of foods, household chemicals, personal care products, toys, paper goods for home & office.  Free iPhone app!

Natural Resources Defense Council        

Long known as America’s most effective environmental action organization, beginning with the Clean Water Act of 1971.

NOFA:  Northeast Organic Farming Association: Massachusetts Chapter

NOFA/Mass -- farmers, gardeners, landscapers & consumers.  Working to educate members & general public about benefits of organic systems, natural materials & minimizing waste, for the health of individual beings, communities & the planet.

Pesticide Database: Pesticide Action Network of North America

Toxicity & regulatory info on pesticides, insecticides & herbicides.  Info on least toxic or non-toxic alternatives to chemicals for pest control.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Nationwide effort to pass smart federal policies that protect us from toxic chemicals.  Coalition of nurses, parents, cancer specialists, conservationists & concerned citizens from across the USA.

Skin Deep   

Which skin care products are safe & which can be harmful.  A safety guide to personal care products & cosmetics, compiled by researchers at the Environmental Working Group.

Toxnet (Toxicology Data Network)      

From the National Library of Medicine.  Databases on toxins, hazardous chemicals, environmental health & toxic releases.  Includes LactMed for pregnant & nursing mothers; Household products database; hazardous substances database ( HSDB); Developmental & Reproductive Toxicology Database (DART) & multi-database search.                             

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Books & Writings by Rachel Carson
Always, Rachel: the Letters of Rachel Carson & Dorothy     Freeman, 1952-1964.  M. Freeman, ed. 925.7 Carson
The Edge of the Sea.   578.769 CAR; E. Falm. 591.92 C239e
Lost Woods: the discovered writings of Rachel Carson.   Ed. with  intro.  by Linda Lear.   570 CAR;  LP 570 CAR
The Sea Around Us.     551.46l;   E. Falmouth 551.46 C239s
The Sense of Wonder.  J 508 CAR;    N.Falmouth 574.9  C239s
Silent Spring.  1962 edition.    N. Falmouth 632.9 C238s
Silent Spring.  1994 edition, intro.  by Al Gore.   632.9 CAR
Silent Spring.  2002 ed., afterword by E. O. Wilson.  632.9 CAR;  E. Falmouth 632.9 CAR; N. Falmouth 632.9 CAR
Under the Sea Wind: a naturalist’s picture of ocean life.     578.769 CAR;   E. Falmouth 591.92 C239u

About Rachel Carson

Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists & Activists Celebrate the Life & Writings of Rachel Carson.    577.279 COU    
The House of Life:  Rachel Carson at work; with selections from her writings, published & unpublished.   P. Brooks.   925.7 Carson
Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature.  Linda Lear.  925.7 Carson                 
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.  [DVD video]  PBS American Experience series.  DVD 925.7 Carson
A Sense of Wonder; two interviews with Rachel Carson. [DVD video]  2009.  DVD 333.9516 SEN
Understanding Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.  A. McGillivray.  632.9 MCG
About Rachel Carson ONLINE

Rachel Carson Centennial 2007
Rachel Carson: a Conservation Legacy. Links & info from a national exhibit by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service,
hosted by the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

Find out about Rachel Carson’s connection to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

For Younger Readers

Listening to Crickets: a Story about Rachel Carson.    C. Ransom.    J 920 Car
Rachel Carson: a Twentieth Century Life.  E. Levine.  J  920 Carson.
Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder.  T. Locker.   J 920 Carson
Sea and Earth: the life of Rachel Carson.  P. Sterling.  J 920 Car
Who on Earth Is Rachel Carson?  Mother of the Environmental  Movement.   M. Fletcher.    J 920 Carson

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The mission of the What's Falmouth Reading? initiative is to promote reading across the Falmouth community through a shared reading experience and to increase access to books for all members of the community, with special attention to children. It's goals are to encourage an appreciation of reading and books in Falmouth and to promote access to a variety of books for all ages.

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