Rachel Carson Visits Hog Island in 1960, “Returns” in 2004

One of the most famous visitors to the Audubon Camp in Maine was marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who walked Hog Island trails in 1960 and later briefly wrote about her trip in the acclaimed Silent Spring. Miss Carson was present that year for the dedication of Hog Island as a perpetual sanctuary and the conveyance of the main part of Hog Island to the National Audubon Society, which had operated its nature camp on the Hog Island peninsula since 1936.

The historic photograph depicts Miss Carson (right) at the steps of the "Fish House" with Dr. Millicent Todd Bingham, owner of Hog Island, who joined (from left) National Audubon Society President Carl Buchheister, former Audubon president John Baker, and Audubon camp director Bart Cadbury for August 13, 1960, ceremonies marking Audubon's assumption of full ownership of Hog Island. Photo by Shirley A. Briggs.

History returned to the Audubon Camp on June 16, 2004, as Broadway and television actress Kaiulani Lee staged her one-woman show, “A Sense of Wonder,” in the camp “Fish House” for “Friends of Hog Island” work week volunteers and neighbors and supporters of the Maine Audubon Society. FOHI volunteers transformed the historic auditorium into a replica of a 1963-era Maine seaside cabin, from which Miss Lee delivered her soliloquy drawn from the writings of Rachel Carson in a one-hour, two-act evening performance before an audience of 50. A Maine native who spends much of the year in mid-coast Maine, Miss Lee walked Hog Island trails with FOHI participants, stopped at the dedication plaque and boulder at Long Cove, and pronounced the island setting “perfect” for her theatrical re-creation of Miss Carson’s poignant final summer in Maine. Her Audubon Camp appearance followed another performance the previous evening at the third “New-Cue Writers’ Conference and Workshop in Honor of Rachel Carson” in nearby Boothbay Harbor.

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