Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Who is Rachel Carson and why should the Allegheny Regional Asset District care?

There was a rather disturbing article in today's Valley News Dispatch about a proposal of the Allegheny Regional Asset District to deny funding to the Rachel Carson Homestead.
In the 10-year history of RAD, the [Alle-Kiski Valley] historical society has received $32,500 of the more than $752 million given to these annual assets. The society is the only local group to get any annual asset money.
So the Rachel Carson Homestead has not received funds from the RAD. And this year no local (i.e., Alle-Kiski Valley) group will get any funds. What is this about? Does the tension between centralism and regionalism as alleged by Bill Hall explain it? Or does it perhaps have something to do with this area's ambivalence about Pittsburgh's legacy of being known as the "smoky city?"

A writer and naturalist, Rachel Carson was born and grew up in Springdale and graduated from the institution that is now Chatham College. She wrote articles and books about the environment inhabited by so many living creatures, and is perhaps best known for her 1962 book Silent Spring, challenging the overuse of pesticides to humanity's own loss and harm.

A small river town in Allegheny County produced a world-recognized spokesperson for the environment. According to the Homestead's site:

The mission of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association is to preserve, restore, and interpret Rachel Carson's birthplace and childhood home; and to design and implement education programs and resources in keeping with her environmental ethic.

The Rachel Carson Homestead is the only site in the world that is dedicated to interpreting Rachel Carson's legacy to the public.

Sounds like a unique and worthy local asset to me.

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