November Reading Schedule

The Sense of Wonder
by Rachel Carson

Moderator: Tom Schaefer, educator and historian

Reading and Essay Schedule:
The Sense of Wonder is a lovely, short little book that can easily be read in one sitting. It surely is not necessary to set up a formal reading schedule for this lovely testimony of Rachel’s thoughts about her experiences with her nephew Roger Christie. Discussion will focus on a quote from The Sense of Wonder posted each week the remarks by this month's moderator.

Week One: "If a child is to keep alive his sense of wonder…he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” Posted November 1

Week Two: "If the moon is full...then the way is open for another adventure with your child... The sport of watching migrating birds across the face of the moon has become popular and even scientifically important in recent years, and it is a good way as I know to give an older child a sense of the mystery of migration." Posted November 12

Week Three: "If I had influence with the good fairy..., 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 to boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength." Posted November 26

Week Four: TBD. Posted November 29

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September Book Schedule

Featured Book: Lost Woods: The Discovered Writings of Rachel Carson

Moderator: H. Patricia Hynes, Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University
The readings are organized into 4 parts [for each week] which progress from the threshold of Carson’s writing career to the conclusion of her life.

Week 1: Part 1 offers a story she wrote for publication as a teenager and early writings of the 1930s and ‘40s, including a few preludes for Under the Sea-Wind, field notes from watching the fall migration of hawks, an imagistic portrait of an island on the Sheepscot River in Maine, and a section from a Conservation in Action publication on the national wildlife refuge at Mattamuskeet, North Carolina published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Week 2: Part 2 highlights Carson’s theme of human ignorance and apathy regarding the conservation of natural resources and habitats and the relentless development of destructive technology gains in volume and tone. The contrast of human haste to develop weapons and disregard for their impact on ecosystems with Nature’s “so deliberate, so unhurried, so inexorable” ways becomes progressively more marked in her work.

Week 3: Part 3 (forthcoming)

Week 4: Part 4 will address a theme that weaves thread-like through all of the parts - the theme of spirituality and nature.

Kennedy Library Rachel Carson Forum - June 2, 2007

Roland Clement, E.O. Wilson, Annick Smith, Amy MacDonald, Stewart Udall

Roland Clement and E.O. Wilson

Stewart Udall with grandson reading Rachel Carson's requested reading for her own memorial service

Anne Roy with Stewart Udall

RC Book Blog at Rachel Carson Homestead - May 27, 2007

Is it possible that Rachel Carson returned as a butterfly for the day?

A girl named Rachel blogging

Larry Schweiger, NWF Executive Director and FWS librarian Anne Roy

June's Book Schedule

ALWAYS, RACHEL: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964, the Story of a Remarkable Friendship

For this collection of letters – my advice is to just start reading. We will discuss the content thematically, rather than chronologically.
Week One, June 1-7:The first post this month will provide a bit of historical context to the turbulent era during which Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman wrote.
Week Two, June 8-14:We will discuss the general dynamics of Carson and Freeman’s lives and relationships.
Week Three, June 15-21: We will explore some of the recurring threads in their correspondence, such as the nature of Life and their questions about religion and spirituality.
Week Four, June 22-30:Last, we’ll discuss what this collection of letters can tell us about Silent Spring.

Book Schedule for May Discussion

May's Featured Book:
Courage for the Earth. Edited by Peter Matthiessen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.

Contributors include: John Elder, Al Gore, John Hay, Freeman House, Linda Lear, Robert Michael Pyle, Janisse Ray, Sandra Steingraber, Terry Tempest Williams, andE. O. Wilson

Moderators: John Elder and Deanne Urmy

Week One, May 1-8: Rachel Carson's Historical Context
Our readings will be Peter Matthiessen's introduction to the collection, Linda Lear's "Love, Fear, and Witnessing," and "Remembrance of Life," John Hay's "A Long View of Rachel Carson," and Al Gore's "Rachel Carson and Silent Spring." The focus for this week will be on the political and scientific situation within which Carson wrote, on the nature and logic of resistance to Silent Spring, in particular, and on the contemporary impact of her writing.

Week Two, May 9-16: Carson as Writer--Inspiration and Influence
We'll delve into three essays that relate to Rachel Carson's literary influences and accomplishments, as well as to her inspirational power for writers today: Jim Lynch, "Rachel Carson in The Highest Tide," Sandra Steingraber, "Silent Spring: A Father-Daughter Dance," and John Elder, "Withered Sedge and Yellow Wood: Poetry in Silent Spring."

Week Three, May 17-23: Carson as Naturalist and Activist
Several essays in Courage for the Earth address Rachel Carson's science in illuminating ways. E. O. Wilson, "On Silent Spring," Janisse Ray, "Changing Sex," and Robert Michael Pyle, "Always a Naturalist." We'll focus on Carson's own distinctive insights and on confirming discoveries by subsequent scientists, as well as on the ethical implications of the naturalist's calling.

Week Four, May 24-31: Building on Carson's Achievements
Our readings for this last week all ask what we may learn from Carson as we confront climate change, endocrine disruption, and the other daunting challenges to life on earth. Terry Tempest Williams, "The Moral Courage of Rachel Carson" and Freeman House," Silent Future: Rachel Carson and the Creeping Apocalypse" will be our focal essays, though in this context we may also return to readings from Matthiessen, Ray, and others. Tying together the month's discussions will thus be one goal, as well as looking forward to the next chapters in the story of conservation.

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