For the Birds: Remembering Rachel Carson

September 27, 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s warning against chemical pesticides that’s credited with launching the modern environmental movement.

Opening with a fable of a chemical-choked world where birds no longer sang, the nonfiction book helped inspire the U.S. ban on toxic DDT and the 1970 creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Conservation-minded travelers can pay homage to the “prophetic voice,” as admirers have described Carson, at her newly renovated birthplace in Springdale, Pennsylvania, where she first witnessed the toll of industrial pollution on her childhood swimming spot, the Allegheny River.

Visitors can also experience the environmentalist’s influence at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, Maine, near where she conducted research. There nature lovers enjoy pristine beaches and salt marshes and listen to the cries of Canada geese and red-tailed hawks–poignant reminders that Carson’s echo can be heard anywhere birds still call.

This article, written by Corinne Whiting, appeared in the August/September 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.