July 23, 2014

Rachel Carson Statue To Be Dedicated in Woods Hole, July 14

Contact: Andrea Early
(508) 289-7652; aearly@mbl.edu

rachelcarsonpictureWoods Hole, MA– A life-sized bronze statue of environmentalist and writer Rachel Carson (1907-1964) will be unveiled on July 14 at 2:00 PM at a ceremony in the Marine Biological Laboratory’s (MBL) Waterfront Park, Water Street, Woods Hole, Mass. The statue commemorates Carson’s ties to Woods Hole and Cape Cod.

The ceremony will include talks by the statue’s sculptor, David Lewis, and Cheryl Osimo, president of the Silent Spring Institute, and will feature musical performances by “Singers By the Sea.” Representatives from the MBL, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the National Marine Fisheries Service will also participate. All three institutions shaped Carson’s love of the ocean and science.

The Rachel Carson statue project is the culmination of the work of the Falmouth, Mass.-based Rachel Carson Statue Committee, chaired by Susan Shephard and Eric Turkington.  The group raised $90,000 to commission the sculpture –thanks to support from the Woods Hole Community Association; the Upper Cape Business and Professional Women’s Club; the Silent Spring Institute; the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition; The Falmouth Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; the Woods Hole Foundation; the Bank of Woods Hole; NOAA; and the Woods Hole Consortium, consisting of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the Woods Hole Research Center, as well as dozens of private individuals.

Carson is known worldwide as the author of Silent Spring, the book that fifty years ago awoke the world to the dangers of the pesticide DDT and that many feel was the beginning of the worldwide environmental movement. She also wrote The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea, and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most powerful women of the 20th century.

“Less well known is her Cape Cod connection,” says Shephard. “She first encountered the sea as a graduate student in Woods Hole, where she studied and worked for many years, as a researcher at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and at the Fisheries laboratories (now National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Throughout her life, Woods Hole was her intellectual home.”

In fact, the statue is modeled on a photograph taken of Carson at the site of the Sam Cahoon fish market dock, now part of the Woods Hole Steamship Authority. It depicts her seated on the dock, notebook in hand, looking out at the sea.

The statue’s sculptor, David Lewis, grew up on Cape Cod and is a well-known artist. His pieces are displayed in prominent Cape Cod venues, such as at the Barnstable Court House and the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis.  Lewis works primarily in wood and bronze, and his artwork draws on historical figures and maritime themes, making him the ideal artist to portray Rachel Carson.

Members of the Rachel Carson Committee include Jim Crossen, Falmouth Selectman Mary Pat Flynn, Woods Hole Community Association Co-President Catherine Bumpus, Falmouth Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jack Moakley, and Marsha Zafiriou, chair of the “What’s Falmouth Reading?” committee.

“We are grateful to everyone who helped us bring the Rachel Carson sculpture from an idea to a reality,” says Turkington.  “It is our hope that Rachel will bring visitors from around the world to Woods Hole to celebrate her impacts on environmental thinking and experience firsthand the setting that helped inspire her.”

Tax exempt contributions to the Rachel Carson Statue Fund are still being accepted and may be sent to the Woods Hole Foundation, Inc., PO Box 603, Woods Hole, Mass. 02543.

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