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2.14.2016

Rachel Carson Home, Trail, and Harrison Hills Park, Springdale and Natrona Heights, PA, Allegheny County

Today we look at one of the most important environmentalists of all time, a woman whose vision has made the world a healthier place, Rachel Carson. She was a marine biologist and conservationist that is most famous for writing Silent Spring, a book that helped us to move away from the usage of DDT, a toxic carcinogen that not only causes major health problems in people, but also causes major problems and death in many different species. She took on irresponsible agricultural methods, chemical companies, and governmental policies head-on and made a huge difference in the world. The reduction in the use of DDT has often been credited with the rebound of the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon species. Her writings and work are credited with opening the public eye to environmental atrocities.

She was born in 1907 and raised on her family's farm in Springdale, PA, northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River. She once found a fossilized shell in the hillside around her family's home in Springdale. This is credited with sparking her interest in science. The environmental degradation of the region also motivated her to take action. A local glue factory was near her home, and by the time she left for graduate school in 1929, two coal plants were erected on the edges of town. Her lifetime of work led to a worldwide outcry and even a post-humous Presidential Medal of Freedom after her untimely death to cancer. 
The Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, PA is on the National Register of Historic Places
In Rachel Carson's memory as one of the most influential people to ever come from the Pittsburgh region, she is memorialized with Andy Warhol and Roberto Clemente on the Three Sisters Bridges in downtown Pittsburgh. Additionally, a 35.7 mile hiking trail runs through Allegheny County, starting in the county park of North Park, and ending in Harrison Hills Park in Natrona Heights, PA, where it meets with a small waterfall named in her honor.
A beehive in Harrison Hills Park in Natrona Heights, PA
The park has an environmental learning center that continues her legacy of environmental education.
Additionally, Harrison Hills Park has a nice playground area and picnic groves, making for a nice place to have an afternoon picnic.
The Michael Watts Memorial Overlook at Harrison Hills Park provides a pretty view over the Allegheny River.

Harrison Hills Park is also a bird sanctuary, home to many different species of birds. The dedication to preservation of bird species would certainly make Rachel Carson proud.
The terminus of the Rachel Carson Trail as it goes into a small ravine where Rachel Carson Run, a small tributary to the Allegheny River, flows. Rachel Carson Falls is a small waterfall in the middle of the ravine.
Ice forming on the creek
Rachel Carson Falls
The small ravine of Rachel Carson Run
A bird's nest
Be sure to check out the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, the Rachel Carson Trail, and Harrison Hills Park to get some nice insights into the world that convinced Rachel to take action with the environment.

Rachel Carson Homestead Location:
Coordinates 40.5464° N, 79.7834° W

Harrison Hills Park and Rachel Carson Trailhead and Falls Location
40.6492° N, 79.6989° W

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