Rachel Carson Scholar and Artwork to Appear in Damariscotta

Rachel Carson first visited Maine’s mid-coast almost 60 years ago, and the influence of the region’s sea and shore had profound and lasting impact on her writings, which launched the modern American environmental movement.

Now, in their first appearance in Maine, the original artwork that accompanied Rachel Carson’s first book, Under the Sea-Wind, comes to Damariscotta on Tuesday September 27, 2005, in a presentation about the famed author’s love for the Maine coast by Carson scholar Dr. John Juriga.  The evening event will be held between 7 and 9 p.m. in the Skidompha Public Library auditorium, 184 Main Street in Damariscotta.

This month’s presentation is a public “thank you” to Lincoln County and the communities of the Damariscotta-Newcastle area by the “Friends of Hog Island” and the Maine Audubon Society’s Hog Island Audubon Camp, in appreciation for their support for the venerable Hog Island institution, now in its 69th year as America’s oldest continually-operating environmental summer camp for adults, families, and youth.

“I checked out my first book at the Skidompha Public Library in the summer 1972, when I worked in the kitchen of the Hog Island Audubon Camp,” says David Klinger, president of the “Friends of Hog Island.”  “Since then, I’ve returned many summers, and this marvelous library has grown, as has the Audubon Camp.  We’ve had great support from the Damariscotta community through many years, and this event is just one small way we wish to express our collective thanks to our local neighbors for their continued goodwill.”

“Rachel Carson, Howard Frech, and Under the Sea-Wind” will offer a glimpse into Carson’s long and abiding relationship with the Maine coast, to which she journeyed in 1946 and returned, after building her cottage on Southport Island, every summer until her death in 1964.  The lecture will feature the original pencil drawings that famed Baltimore artist Howard Frech contributed to Carson’s first work of literature — art that has seldom been displayed since Under the Sea-Wind was first published in 1941.

Dr. Juriga, a Salisbury, Maryland, pediatrician who is associated with the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in that state, will offer a compelling and insightful look into the influence of the Maine seacoast on Carson, her writings, and her outlook on the natural world.  Dr. Juriga has served as guest curator for two major exhibits at the Salisbury art museum — “Witness for Nature:  The World of Rachel Carson” in 1999 and “Bob Hines:  National Wildlife Artist” in 2003.

The September 27 presentation will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta.  Admission is free, and a public reception and Rachel Carson book sale by Damariscotta’s Maine Coast Book Shop will follow the talk.

The “Friends of Hog Island” is a national support group for the Hog Island Audubon Camp, made up of former staff, alumni, and friends of the camp, which is located off Keene Neck Road in Bremen.  Members contribute their volunteer labor to the maintenance of the camp every June, raise funds to support its educational programs and growth, help preserve the Hog Island camp’s history, and maintain a Web site at www.fohi.org.  FOHI’s president, David Klinger, and Hog Island Audubon Camp director Seth Benz will welcome the audience during the September 27 evening talk.

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