Advisory Committee on Pesticides
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Clarence Cottam

Cottam hired and worked with Carson at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and remains a close friend. He wrote about the deleterious effects of pesticides as early as 1946. Carson has cited Cottam's work in Chap. 10 of Silent Spring. She consulted him in 1959 about the nature of her writing project. In 1961 Cottam was awarded the Audubon Medal for his "achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection." He also recently served on the NRC committee on Pest Control and Wildlife Relationships.

Be sure to review Chaps. 1-2,7-10,15 in Silent Spring. You should be able to comment on Carson's credibility, harm to non-target species, safety, and indiscriminate use. Be familiar with the controversial fire ant eradication program. Consider a response to George Decker? Take special note of your 1946 co-authored article on DDT and your long-term relationship with Miss Carson.


  • Lear, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, pp. 401-407.
  • Graham, Since Silent Spring, see Ch. 3 and index.
  • Brooks, House of Life, see index and pp. 228-229.
  • Cottam, Clarence. 1962. "Silent Spring: An Appraisal." National Parks Magazine, 48. 4 pp.
  • Cottam, Clarence. 1963. "A Noisy Reaction to Silent Spring." Sierra Club Bull. 48:4-5,14-15.
  • Cottam, Clarence, and Elmer Higgins. 1946. "DDT and its Effect on Fish and Wildlife." Journal of Economic Entomology pp. 1-14. Also published as U.S. Dept. of Interior Circular 11. Washington: GPO (1946).
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news releases on DDT, 1945-1949. URL:
  • Cottam, Clarence. 1959. "The Uncontrolled Use of Pesicides in the Southeast." (Address to the Southeastern Assn. of Fish, Game and Conservations Commissioners).
  • Cottam, Clarence. 1965. "The Ecologist's Role in Problems of Pesticide Pollution." BioScience 15(7, July): 457-463.
  • National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Pest Control and Wildlife Relationships. Pest Control and Wildlife Relationships. Part III. Research Needs.. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (Pub. #920-C), 1962-63.
  • biographical info: Bolen, Eric G. "In Memoriam: Clarence Cottam". Auk 92(1):118-125.
  • biographical info: Williams, Lauren. "Clarence Cottam." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Nov. 12, 2006].
  • Graham, Since Silent Spring
  • Brooks, Paul 1972. The House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, pp. 247-251.
  • Throup, "Clarence Cottam," 180-225 [citation incomplete]
  • last revised November 7, 2009