Remembering THE GIANTS WHO CAME BEFORE US
There are many talented and committed women currently on the staff and Board of the American Littoral Society (find their bios on our website under Who We Are, within the Staff and Trustees pages).
However, we have benefitted from some truly tremendous “alumni,” who constantly remind us to be aware that in doing our work, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We'd like to remember two of them to conclude Women's History Month.
Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964), a famed biologist and writer, became a best-selling author with The Sea Around Us (1951). She led the charge to ban the use of DDT, a pesticide which led to the decline of many bird species due to brittle eggs, and is often credited with being the impetus behind the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (established in 1970 by Pres. Richard Nixon).
Rachel Carson is a giant in the environmental field and is very deserving of recognition, not just for sounding the alarm regarding unrecognized and unabated environmental impacts, but also for forcing change.
Learn more about Rachel Carson: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rachel-Carson
Affectionately known as the “Shark Lady,” marine biologist Dr. Eugenie Clark (1922-2015) spent her career working endlessly to change public perception about sharks, and to preserve marine environments around the world. She was also a founder of the American Littoral Society!
Dr. Clark built Mote Marine Laboratory (in Sarasota, Florida) in 1955. Her one-woman operation eventually grew into a full-fledged research laboratory with 25 diverse research programs, a formal education division and the public Mote Aquarium. A Japanese-American woman, she paved the way for women in science, authoring three books and over 160 scientific and popular articles.
You can now find Dr. Eugenie Clark on one of the new 2022 stamps from the US Postal Service.
Learn more about Dr. Eugenie Clark: https://marinesanctuary.org/blog/celebrating-wave-makers-dr-eugenie-clark/
Roger Arliner Young was an American scientist of biology, marine biology, and the first black woman to receive a doctorate degree in zoology in 1940. She studied the effects of direct and indirect radiation on sea urchin eggs, salt concentration in paramecium, as well as hydration and dehydration of living cells.
Young was recognized in 2005 in a Congressional Resolution along with four other black women "who have broken through many barriers to achieve greatness in science."
Learn more about Roger Arliner Young: https://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/young.html
MaVynee “Beach Lady” Betsch was a conservationist and opera singer who worked tirelessly to preserve American Beach, Florida’s first Black beach.
Founded by her great grand father during the Jim Crow era, American Beach was a 33-acre shorefront property on Amelia Island. When the Civil Rights Act opened all public facilities to people of color, American Beach saw a decline in visitors due to increased competition and faced significant pressures from development.
Betsch worked to protect the area by advocating to the National Registry of Historic Places. As a result of Betsch’s efforts, much of the area is now a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and continues to serve as a testament to Florida’s coastal resources and history.
Learn about some contemporary Marine Science luminaries from NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/mar20/celebrating-womens-history-month-2020.html