Program Explores Impacts of  ‘Silent Spring


Garden Club of Morgan Park/Beverly presents “Rachel Carson,” a living history program by actress/historian Leslie Goddard, Wed., Sept. 1, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the program begins at 9:45. 

Sixty years ago, biologist and author Rachel Carson warned the world of the potentially dire environmental impact of pervasive use of chemical pesticides in her best-selling book 1962, “Silent Spring.” As communities around the world are grappling with the effects of climate change, it’s especially important to remember – and act on — Carson’s warning. 

The living history program takes place in 1963, the year after “Silent Spring” was published, and is set at Carson’s cottage in Maine. Actress and historian Leslie Goddard portrays Carson, discussing the author’s childhood love for the living world, her passion for writing, and her work to awaken the world to the fragility of nature.  

Rachel Carson understood that all living things were interdependent, and that once toxic chemicals were released, they would have a long-term effect not only on birds and fish but on people.   

“Silent Spring” was enormously popular with readers, but Caron endured harsh backlash from the chemical industry, including lawsuits and publicity efforts to discredit her. Her work prevailed, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency traces its existence to “the extended shadow of ‘Silent Spring,’” as one writer described it. In 1980, Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter. 

Leslie Goddard is an award-winning actress and scholar who has been presenting history 

programs for more than 15 years. She specializes in portraying significant women in history from Amelia Earhart to Jackie Kennedy.   

“I do portrayals of about a dozen historical women, and I added Rachel Carson a few years ago after realizing none of the women I portrayed were scientists,” Goddard said.  Goddard was fascinated by what she discovered when researching Rachel Carson, and surprised that more people did not know of the author and her influence on the modern environmental movement. 

“I hope audiences will leave with a sense of why she mattered. But more than that, I hope audiences will be inspired to connect with nature themselves,” Goddard said. 

The Garden Club of Morgan Park-Beverly Hills was founded in 1926 as a way for community members to share a passion for gardening. Throughout the club’s history, members have helped establish many community gardens and develop a love of plants and nature among area gardeners.  

Club volunteers have tended Beverly Arts Center gardens as part of the BAC’s ground beautification initiative since 2012. The club was instrumental in installing the Roy Diblik Garden of Living Art and the Pat McGrail gardens at the Center. 

The Rachel Carson program is free, but donations to the Garden Club of Morgan Park/Beverly are welcome. For more information on the program or the club, email  


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