Rachel Carson

The legacy of Rachel Carson lives on

One of the coolest things about my grandparents' house in Port Lions, Alaska was the Rachel Carson book on the coffee table.

My grandmother had moved the Lindal Cedar Home from Raspberry Island after the 1964 quake so it overlooked the tree-studded bay and her ratan chair rotated a full 360 degrees so she could take in the view from the wall of south-facing windows. I sat beside her in another chair, constantly ready to spin myself sick or I paged through "The Sea Around Us."

That was the 1960s. I barely learned to read, but the pictures combined with my grandmother's stories illustrated a world of wonder and an undersea image filled with pods of king crab, water thick with herring and a sea floor fat with octopus. It made sense. Our family was big into fisheries, and Wakefield Seafoods was the biggest and baddest in the world when it came to king or snow crab.

Now comes the reason I write this post: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants the public to weigh in on its fourth annual Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest.

The EPA says in a press release that a panel of judges selected finalists in photography, essay, poetry, dance and mixed media (photography and a poem or essay). Finalists were selected on originality, creativity, use of an intergenerational team and ability to capture a sense of wonder.

Carson is considered the founder of the environmental movement through her landmark book, “Silent Spring.” The EPA says using the title of another of Carson’s books, “The Sense of Wonder,” the contest sought submissions “that best express the ‘Sense of Wonder’ that you feel when observing the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes.”

The deadline for voting is Nov. 1. The winners will be announced later that month. To vote: http://yosemite.epa.gov/oa/agingepa/rcvote.nsf/fmVote?OpenForm

Photos: Courtesy portlions.net and amazon.com.