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Gift Planning:
Rachel Carson Society

"The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky, and their amazing life." —Rachel Carson

With a single book, Silent Spring, noted author and marine biologist Rachel Carson alerted humanity to the fragile balance of nature, and sparked a global effort to protect the environment. Published in 1962, her work shook the prevailing view of humankind's place in the web of life, and called for us to take responsibility for the preservation of the Earth's diversity. Her words helped shape the environmental movement as we know it today.

When Rachel Carson died of breast cancer at the age of 56 in 1964 she left a substantial bequest to the Sierra Club, including royalties from future sales of Silent Spring. Rachel Carson ensured that concern for the environment would continue to grow into the future.

Making a Difference

Her legacy also led the Sierra Club to create the Rachel Carson Society, designed to honor and recognize individuals who make a commitment to the environment by including the Sierra Club or The Sierra Club Foundation in their estate plans.

Honoring Your Support

The Sierra Club's Rachel Carson Society honors and recognizes individuals, who like Rachel Carson, make a commitment to the environment by including the Sierra Club in their estate plans. If you have made such a provision, informing us of those plans enables us to properly express our gratitude. Please note that information regarding the size or type of your gift is not required. Membership in The Rachel Carson Society includes:


You are eligible for membership in Rachel Carson Society if you have included Sierra Club or The Sierra Club Foundation:

  • In your will or trust
  • As a beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement plan
  • As a beneficiary of your life insurance policy
  • Established a life income gift

For Further Information

Rachel Carson knew that her life's work was only the beginning, that her contribution would be lost if future generations did not build upon what she started. A bequest or life income trust to benefit the Sierra Club's work is a commitment to the Earth's future. Your plans may allow you to create an enduring conservation legacy that meets both your financial and philanthropic goals.

Gift Planning staff are available to provide you assistance in directing a gift to the Sierra Club or The Sierra Club Foundation. If you would like information and confidential assistance, please fill out our information request form.

We look forward to welcoming you as a new member of the Rachel Carson Society. Contact us.

The Rachel Carson Society Newsletter


More About Carson

Rachel Carson was one of those unique individuals whose life and work dramatically influenced society. She encouraged people to question and challenge our view of man's relationship with the natural world. By combining her skills as a trained biologist with her extraordinary literary skills, she told the world about the beauty and mystery of the environment.

Her career as a biologist and Chief Editor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed her to use her exceptional talents in many ways. She was able to express complicated scientific concepts in a way that made the information accessible to the general populace. A major portion of her work dealt with marine environments. She wrote three highly acclaimed books about the sea: Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea.

In what came to be known as her most famous book, Silent Spring, she sounded a global alarm about the threat of chemical pesticides. Her meticulous scientific research coupled with her exceptional writing ability enabled her to create a book that compelled the world to look at nature in a new way. The more Rachel Carson explored the use of pesticides, the clearer she was about her need to write the book, "What I discovered was that everything which meant the most to me as a naturalist was being threatened, and that nothing I could do would be more important." (Paul Brooks, The House of Life)

In addition to her research and writing, Rachel Carson was also the major care-giver for her family. Though she never married, she cared for her mother and two nieces. Nearing her fiftieth birthday she adopted her niece's orphaned five year old son. Her own health began to fail while she was working on Silent Spring. Despite illness, she always managed to put her personal challenges aside in order to complete the important projects that faced her. She died of cancer in 1964 at the age of fifty-six.

Rachel Carson's strength of character and commitment to preserving, conserving, and enhancing our environment is inspirational to people across the world. She was a visionary with the heart of a poet who optimistically believed that there was hope in the reparation of mankind's relationship with nature. —by Marcia Mueller

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