Rachel Carson was a country girl. She was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania where she grew up on a 60-acre farm. There she wandered the fields, testing her knowledge of the animal calls and plants her mother had taught her to identify. Life wasn't that far from the bucolic pastoral scenes described in her favorite books, like "The Wind in the Willows" and everything by Beatrix Potter.
But her father was not much of a success as a farmer and to make ends meet he sold off parcels of farmland to developers little by little. And so urbanity began to creep into Carson's young life as streets and shops moved ever closer. It was an ecological shift that prefigured the blight of pesticides she would later detail in her most famous book, "Silent Spring."
By the age of 10, Carson was already a published writer. Her work was accepted in "St. Nicholas," a magazine for children that had previously printed the childhood works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner [source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service].