Chestertown, MD, August 19, 2002 — On Saturday, September 14, 2002, acclaimed Broadway, film and television actress Kaiulani Lee will bring the life of environmentalist, biologist and writer Rachel Carson to stage at Washington College in a one-woman show titled "A Sense of Wonder." Cosponsored by the Friends of Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Inc., and the College's Center for Environment and Society, this performance will start at 7 p.m. in the College's Tawes Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, admission at the door.
September 2002 marks both the 40th anniversary of the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Kent County and of the publication of Carson's landmark work of conservation, Silent Spring.
A marine biologist and zoologist by training, Carson has been called the "patron saint of the environmental movement," and the 1962 publication of Silent Spring brought to public consciousness the dangers of chemical pesticides in the ecosystem while providing impetus to the modern environmental movement. She is considered one of the great poets and writers of the natural world, conveying its sense of beauty and mystery in her best-selling books. Biographer Linda Lear described Carson's writing as "at once scientifically accurate and clear, but with a poetic insight and imagination, one that confidently captured the wonder of nature's eternal cycles, rhythms and relationships."
Forty years after the publication of Silent Spring, Carson's conservation legacy is still strong, inspiring new generations with "a sense of wonder" at nature's beauty and balance, and invoking national stewardship of America's environment.
"Rachel Carson's ideas influenced the lives of many in the service of science and the environment, including mine," says Dr. Wayne Bell, director of Washington College's Center for Environment and Society, the cosponsor of "A Sense of Wonder." Bell, who grew up in Carson's Silver Spring, MD, neighborhood in the 1950s and recalls Carson's taking time to stargaze with him—her 10-year-old neighbor and paperboy—through a telescope in her backyard, will introduce the September 14th performance.
"A Sense of Wonder" was written by actress Kaiulani Lee, who has been touring the United States for over ten years, bringing to audiences the person and perspectives of Carson. Her play has been the centerpiece of regional and national conferences on conservation, education, journalism, and the environment. She has performed it at over one hundred universities, dozens of high schools, the Smithsonian Institute, the Albert Schweitzer Conference, the United Nations, the Sierra Club's Centennial in San Francisco, and at the Department of the Interior's 150th anniversary celebration. Lee has appeared in many on- and off-Broadway plays, and her television and film credits include The Waltons, Law and Order, The World According to Garp and the critically acclaimed PBS film A Midwife's Tale.
The September 14 performance will be preceded by a points-of-light remembrance to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with a moment of silence and an audience display of individual lights in tribute to those whose lives were lost. Attendees are encouraged to bring a penlight to participate.
A "Roses for Rachel" ceremony will be held immediately after the play in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Silent Spring's publication. A reception will be offered during the intermission, and the Friends of Eastern Neck will have copies of Carson's books available for sale.
Eastern Neck NWR also will host an outdoor biodiversity event, called "The Big B," from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. September 14 at its 2,000-acre-plus Chesapeake Bay island refuge. Carson's famous quotation, "I shall remember the MonarchsY," will be the theme of the day, as Monarch Watch representatives give presentations on Monarch butterfly migration and metamorphosis, and help the public tag migratory Monarchs. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Silent Spring and the refuge's 1962 establishment, miles of access roads normally closed to the public will be open for biking or hiking during the day. Chester River Kayak Adventures will offer exploration of the island's waterways—no equipment or experience is necessary—for a modest fee. "The Big B" event will include guided butterfly walks by the North American Butterfly Association, children's crafts and games, and a "white butterfly" yard sale with proceeds benefiting Monarch Watch.
For further information on the Friends of Eastern Neck and Eastern Neck's 40th anniversary events, or for tickets to "A Sense of Wonder," call Meg Walkup at Eastern Neck NWR, 410-639-7056, toll-free 877-47SWANS, or visit Eastern Neck on the web at http://easternneck.fws.gov.
To learn more about educational events sponsored by the Washington College Center for the Environment and Society, visit the center online at http://ces.washcoll.edu or call 410-810-7151.