For the Birds, and the Turtles, and the Deer

By Moira McGuinness

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth — soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research.
—Rachel Carson*



I consider myself a city kid with a country heart.  I was born in Washington, DC, have lived nearly my whole life in the DC suburbs, but I spend every weekend I can in the Shenandoah Valley at a cabin my parents bought in 1966. The cabin and the pond, fields, and woods that surround it are more home to me than the neighborhood I was raised in. Spending time out there just wandering around renews and heals my spirit like nothing else does.

A deer at the farm. Image by the author.

A deer at the farm. Image by the author.

This summer I asked a forester to produce a management plan for the 100 acres of woods on the property.  His plan included short-term ways to make the forest healthier and make room for the undergrowth that deer thrive on, and recommendations for longer-term growth. I agree with Rachel Carson that conservation requires a balanced approach based on research. I am thankful to have the help of a trained scientist in deciding how best to care for the trees and the wildlife that depend on them.

I know having such a connection to nature is a gift as well as a responsibility.  That’s why I especially enjoyed helping to get the Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Finalists page ready to go online. The photos, essays, songs, poems, and dances, have inspired me to invite friends out to my little mountain retreat more often and share with them my own sense of wonder at the gift nature is. I invite you to cast your ballot for your favorite entry in each of the categories. Send an email with your favorites to or mail your votes to:

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest
C/O Kathy Sykes
U.S. EPA Mail Code 8101R
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Room 41284

Voting closes Friday September 27, 2013.

“Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth, are never alone or weary of life.” ―Rachel Carson

About the Author: Moira McGuinness manages EPA Research web content. When not working with the Science Communication Staff in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, she likes to photograph wildlife she sees near her cabin.

*Letter to the editor, Washington Post (1953); quoted in Lost Woods:The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (1999) edited by Linda Lear, p. 99

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.