Environmental shot heard ‘round the world: Preserving a local landmark

Written by Gillian Smith
 | Thursday, 31 July 2014 19:33


Selectmen last week approved a conservation restriction for a property on Powder Point Avenue whose owners believe can make a difference in the environmental world.



Judi and Terry Vose live in a home on Powder Point Ave that has become quite famous in the world of birders and environmental enthusiasts. The home, which the Vose’s affectionately call The Spring House, is adjacent to a property that was the inspiration for the well-known book, “Silent Spring.”


The property behind the house belonged to Olga Huckins, who was an active member in town. In 1958, Huckins observed the negative effects of aerial DDT spraying when she discovered several species of birds dead in her bird sanctuary. Huckins reached out to her friend, Rachel Carson, who was a writer in Washing- ton, D.C. Carson was inspired by Huckins’ story and wrote the influential novel based off of the story in Duxbury.

That bird sanctuary is the property that is now protected by the conservation restriction, which will protect the land from being built upon. The land also includes a vernal pool, small pond and Native American artifacts, adding to the historical significance of the site. Terry Vose discovered a Native American arrowhead and foundation from what appeared to be a former dwelling. 

With the help of Duxbury resident Pat Loring, the restriction has gone through all of the necessary formalities and is now officially in place. 

Judi Vose hopes the conservation restriction will be the next step in helping Duxbury become a place where environmentalists and students can visit and explore the area. 

"We just want to get the message out there," she said. "This could be the environmental shot heard 'round the world." 

The Voses have been contacted by students who have been inspired by Huckins and Carson and have used the story to compete in National History Day competitions. With the new outdoor learning area at the co-located middle and high school starting to take shape for the new school year, Judi Vose hopes to make a connection with the students and Huckins as they take advantage of the ecology of the area.