Symposium To Examine Legacy Of Rachel Carson On May 11-12

Fifty years ago, scientist and author Rachel Carson sparked the modern environmental movement by bringing to light the dangers posed by the then widely utilized pesticide DDT. Her book, “Silent Spring,” documented the tragic, unintentional environmental repercussions of the use of man-made chemicals, launched a worldwide campaign to reduce the use of dangerous chemicals in the environment, and continues to inspire the next generation of environmental defenders.
           In recognition of the tremendous impact of Carson’s seminal work, more than 25 environmental leaders from around the globe will gather in Pittsburgh on May 11 and 12 to give their perspectives on “Silent Spring,” to examine the role it has played in raising environmental awareness over the past 50 years, and to look toward the future of the environmental conservation movement.
            The Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50 Symposium, presented by the National Aviary and the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University, will include presentations and panel discussions on the long-lasting impact of Carson’s work, highlighted with a keynote address by 2011 Heinz Award recipient Louis J. Guillette, Jr.  
            A reproductive biologist and professor at the University of Florida, Guillette has received international acclaim for research on the impacts of toxic chemicals on the reproductive systems of alligators and other wildlife.
            “Rachel Carson left a legacy of writing and an environmental ethic drawn from her concern about the persistent chemicals people introduce into the environment,” says Patricia DeMarco, director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University. “We will examine the predictions Rachel Carson made in her writing, evaluate how the current environmental conditions reflect her concerns, and address the challenges and hopes we face in the twenty-first century.”
            The Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50 Symposium will open at 1 p.m. on May 11, at the National Aviary, with a special presentation of Wings!, the Aviary’s dramatic multimedia, interactive, live bird performance, followed by a special airing of Rachel Carson’s speech to the National Women’s Press Club and a panel discussion, “Voices of the Earth,” with environmental writers Scott Weidensaul, Sherri Woodley, John Juriga, and Diane Graves.  
            The first day of the symposium will end with a keynote address by Carson’s biographer, Linda Lear, Ph.D., entitled “That Book Is For The Birds.”
            The symposium will continue on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Eddy Theatre at Chatham University’s Shadyside campus beginning with Guillette’s keynote address, and followed by four panel discussions on the lessons, challenges, images and messages, and future voices that the book “Silent Spring” has informed or inspired.
            More information and tickets are available online. Tickets are $50 for Friday, May 11, $75 for  May 12, or $100 for both days. Space is limited to 150.


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