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Darwin Days and the Vassar Greens present a play about environmentalist Rachel Carson on Earth Day, April 22, 2010.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—A one-woman play about Rachel Carson, the final event at Vassar College in celebration of the 201st birthday of Charles Darwin, will be held on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, at 7:00pm. A Sense of Wonder, about the life and work of noted environmentalist and author Rachel Carson, written and performed by Kaiulani Lee, will be the third of a series of three dramatic presentations about 19th- and 20th-century women scientists, whose work changed the way the world viewed women and science. The program is presented by Darwin Days and co-sponsored by the Vassar Greens. Erica Crespi, Biology, the Mary Clark Rockefeller Chair of Environmental Studies, will introduce the performance. Free and open to the public, the program will begin held in the Martel Theater in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The story of one woman's love for the natural world and her fight to defend it, A Sense of Wonder, written and performed by Lee, provides an intimate glimpse into the life of Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring, alerted the world to the dangers of chemical pesticides. Carson is credited with launching the environmental movement for which she has been called "the patron saint." She was a marine biologist and zoologist as well as one of America's great poets of the natural world. In her earlier works she brought alive the beauty and the mystery of the seas and its creatures for millions of readers.

Kaiulani Lee has over 30 years of experience in theater, film, and television. She has starred in more than a dozen plays on and off-Broadway and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award on Broadway and has received an OBIE Award for outstanding achievement off-Broadway. Her play, A Sense of Wonder, created with the help and guidance of Carson's friends and colleagues and with permission from the Rachel Carson Estate, has been touring the United States as well as Canada, England, and Italy for over ten years. In 2009, a version of the play was released as a film featuring Lee, and was screened at 175 cities across North America. The PBS program Bill Moyers Journal featured a segment with Lee about Rachel Carson and her play in 2007. The film version of A Sense of Wonder debuted on PBS Thursday, April 15, 2010, in honor of Earth Day and will be repeated on PBS channels. Please check your local channels for viewing times. 

Following the performance, at 9:00pm, there will be a contra dance at Ely Hall. The Ely STOMP! will take place on the lawn outside of Ely (or in the AULA in case of rain). The Walker Family Band will provide the music and calling.

The Darwin Day dramatic readings are presented by the Darwin Days Committee, which consists of Vassar faculty and staff from disciplines all over campus and co-sponsored by the Drama Department. Funds for this series are provided by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

About Darwin Days

The International Darwin Day Foundation noted that: “Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born on in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin – the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.” (http://www.darwinday.org

Last year was the first celebration of Darwin Days at the college and this year's events will continue to broaden communication between the science and non-science communities at Vassar.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, April 19, 2010