Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She received a B.A. from the Pennsylvania College for Women in 1929 and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 1932. After undertaking postgraduate work at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, she assumed a position as staff biologist at the University of Maryland in 1931. Five years later, she was appointed aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, which later became the Fish and Wildlife Service, and became editor-in-chief of its publications in 1949. Her first book, Under the Sea Wind, was published in 1941. Her next book, The Sea Around Us, won the National Book Award. With her increased success as a writer, she resigned from her position with the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1952 to devote all her time to writing. Her other works included The Edge of the Sea and Silent Spring. She received many honors including the John Burroughs Medal from the John Burroughs Memorial Association; the Frances K. Hutchinson Medal of the Garden Clubs of America; the Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Department of Interior; the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society; the gold medal of the New York Zoological Society; and the conservationist of the year award from the National Wildlife Federation. She died of cancer on April 14, 1964. In 1969 the U.S. Department of the Interior named the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine in her honor.
The naturalist John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. When he was 11 years old, he moved to the United States with his family and lived on a Wisconsin farm, where he had to work hard for long hours. He would rise as early as one o'clock in the morning in order to have time to study. At the urging of friends, he took some inventions he had made to a fair in Madison, Wisconsin. This trip resulted in his attending the University of Wisconsin. After four years in school, he began the travels that eventually took him around the world. Muir's inventing career came to an abrupt end in 1867, when he lost an eye in an accident while working on one of his mechanical inventions. Thereafter, he focused his attention on natural history, exploring the American West, especially the Yosemite region of California. Muir traveled primarily on foot carrying only a minimum amount of food and a bedroll. In 1880 Muir married Louie Strentzel, the daughter of an Austrian who began the fruit and wine industry in California. One of the first explorers to postulate the role of glaciers in forming the Yosemite Valley, Muir also discovered a glacier in Alaska that later was named for him. His lively descriptions of many of the natural areas of the United States contributed to the founding of Yosemite National Park in 1890. His urge to preserve these areas for posterity led to his founding of the Sierra Club in 1892.Naturalist, travel writer and artist Ann Zwinger has produced such books as The Nearsighted Naturalist, Women in the Wilderness (co-authored with her daughter, Susan), and Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon (which won the Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction).