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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Celebrates Legacy of Rachel Carson with Lecture and Film Series, Sept. 24-29

Author of "Silent Spring" sparked environmental movement 50 years ago

FORT MYERS, Fla. - To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," the 1962 book credited with inspiring modern environmental advocacy, Florida Gulf Coast University will present a series of films, readings and lectures Sept. 24-29.

"Exploring the Legacy of Rachel Carson" celebrates the writer who fundamentally changed the way we steward the natural environment, according to Laura Frost, chemistry professor and director of FGCU's Whitaker Center for STEM Education, which promotes academic programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Rachel Carson effectively and elegantly communicated a complex subject to the general public," Frost said. "Promoting environmental sustainability and encouraging civic responsibility are parts of FGCU's mission, so it seems fitting that we should be exploring the legacy of 'Silent Spring' on such an occasion."

A marine biologist and ecologist, Carson (1907-64) wrote about natural history, resources and conservation for years before publishing "Silent Spring" in September 1962. The New York Times bestseller documents how synthetic chemical pesticides harm the environment and wildlife and ignited widespread public concern over pollution. The book's revelations helped spur legislation such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and led to formation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Admission to "Exploring the Legacy of Rachel Carson" is free and open to the public. Events are:

--Monday, Sept. 24: Nuclear testing is explored through the films "Radio Bikini" (1988) and "Radioactive Paradise" (2010), moderated by John Reilly, FGCU associate professor of chemistry; 5-8 p.m., Whitaker Hall, Room 129.

--Tuesday, Sept. 25: "The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson" (1963) will be screened with a lecture on chemical threats by Darren Rumbold, FGCU professor of marine science; 6-8 p.m., Cohen Center, Room 213.

--Wednesday, Sept. 26: "Fooling with Nature" (1998) and lecturer Talal El-Hefnawy, assistant biology professor, deal with hormone mimics; 5-8 p.m., Griffin Hall, Room 215.

--Thursday, Sept. 27: Ray Judah reflects on environmental issues prevalent during his 24 years as a Lee County Commissioner, followed by "Bag-it" (2010), a documentary on the effect that plastics have on our bodies and our environment; 5-8 p.m., Griffin Hall, Room 172. Events on campus during the day include readings from "Silent Spring," a minute of silence at 2:15 p.m., performance art and a Q&A with environmental experts; activities are on the campus green and in courtyards.

--Saturday, Sept. 29: Additional lectures on chemical threats and hormone mimics and an informal Q&A session with local experts on resources, planning, landscaping, pollution, water and waste management; ends with a screening of "The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson" (1963); 1-6 p.m., Whitaker Hall, Room 101.

For more information, contact Laura Frost at (239) 590-1434, or go to

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