The Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club will present performance of “A Sense of Wonder,” written and performed by Obie Award-winning actress Kaiulani Lee, at the Camden Opera House Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.

The one-woman play chronicles the last year in the life of writer and scientist Rachel Carson. Although she was born in the middle of the country, she was drawn to the ocean and to her beloved Maine. Carson’s seminal work “Silent Spring” brought to the public information about the damage that chemicals, in particular DDT, were having on the natural world.

Known as the patron saint of the environmental movement, Carson was an unlikely figure to stir the controversy that publication of “Silent Spring” produced. Carson’s courageous efforts against untold odds have brought forth far greater understanding of the interconnections between human action and the natural world. Perhaps nearest to Carson’s heart was her insistence that instilling wonder in the hearts and minds of children would have a life long impact on that understanding.

“Watching the metamorphosis of Ms. Lee into Ms. Carson is not only magical, Rachel Carson comes to life before your eyes,” said Becky Bartovics of North Haven, who has seen the play several times.

“A Sense of Wonder” has been touring the United States for more than 20 years. The play has been the centerpiece of regional and national conferences on conservation, education, journalism and the environment. She has performed it at more than 100 universities; dozens of high schools; the Smithsonian Institute, the Albert Schweitzer Conference at the United Nations, the Sierra Club’s Centennial in San Francisco; and at the Department of the Interior’s 150th anniversary celebration. “A Sense of Wonder” has played throughout the provinces of Canada, in England and Italy and, most recently, in India In addition, Lee opened the 2005 World Expo in Japan and in May 2007 performed the play on Capitol Hill, bringing Carson’s voice once again to the halls of Congress.

In the fall of 2008, a filmed adaptation of “A Sense of Wonder” was sneak previewed at the Camden International Film Festival and made its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival. In conjunction with Earth Day 2010, the film, introduced by Bill Moyers, was aired on Public Broadcasting System stations around the country.

“Just as the material chose Ms. Carson, so this play has chosen me. I was a naïve woman with an open heart when I started this, and it’s taken me on a very deep journey. She [Carson] taught me that we each have the ability to make a difference in the world and that we have a responsibility to do so,” said Lee.

Carson was a supporter of the Sierra Club and her foundation continues to support its work.  When Carson died of breast cancer at age 56 in 1964, she left a substantial bequest to the Sierra Club including royalties from future sales of “Silent Spring,” ensuring that concern for the environment would continue to grow into the future. The Maine chapter’s work specifically supports both resilient habitat protection and work to prevent and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Locally, the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club is working with the Maine Partners for Cool Communities Green Sneakers project, which launched in the Camden, Rockland and Thomaston area in May and October. More than 100 Green Sneakers volunteers have spoken with 1,500 homeowners on their doorsteps and provided information about energy efficiency and weatherization initiatives.

“Our work supports state-wide efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to promote comfort and efficiency by reducing energy consumption, to save money and carbon and thereby protect our natural world. Green Sneakers will once again be providing walk through audits in the Midcoast this fall and into the spring. In addition we plan to bring this effective program, developed with help from Efficiency Maine, to towns in every county,” said Bartovics.

The Sierra Club Maine Chapter works throughout the state on issues regarding resilient habitat protection, as well as climate change efforts. All proceeds from the play will support its work to protect the health and beauty of Maine’s precious landscape for future generations.

Tickets are $15, $25 for premium seats that include a coffee and dessert reception after the show to meet Lee. To purchase tickets, visit camdenoperahouse.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.