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'A Sense of Wonder' comes to Sanibel to celebrate 10th anniversary of CESE at FGCU: Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture

February 21, 2014
By ROBBIE SPENCER ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture comes to BIG ARTS on Sanibel again, but with a special twist.

The Lecture, put on each year by Florida Gulf Coast University's Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, will feature a theatrical performance for the first time. "A Sense of Wonder," performed by Kaiulani Lee, is a one-woman play based on the life and works of the infamous Rachel Carson. The show will be at Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

This year's edition will recognize the 50th year since Carson's passing, as well as the tenth anniversary of the CESE at FGCU. The Center wanted to do something special for both anniversaries, and they believe they struck gold with "A Sense of Wonder," according to Dr. Mary Walch.

Article Photos

The world-renowned Rachel Carson.

"We're very excited to bring this performance to Sanibel," said Walch, a faculty member at FGCU and volunteer for the CESE. "People from the Center had seen her perform and thought she was amazing."

Immediately following the performance, the Center will host its 10th anniversary celebration in Phillips Gallery adjacent to Schein Hall. Peter Blaze Corcoran, director for the CESE and long-time Sanibel resident, returns from Nairobi, Kenya to celebrate this year's lecture. He is a Fulbright Fellow at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies. He will be joined by renowned sustainability educator and Center co-chair David Orr, Rick Clugston and Lee in a panel discussion about the legacy of Rachel Carson and reflect on the Center's ten-year history.

Carson was an author, marine biologist, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring drew international acclaim and brought many environmental issues to the forefront of the American public eye. Her book has been called the most important book of the 20th century and is widely considered part of the birth of the American environmental movement.

Fact Box

Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture 2014

"A Sense of Wonder," by Kaiulani Lee

When: Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Schein Performance Hall, BIG ARTS

Tickets: $50/general, $15/students, children, available at BIG ARTS box office.

$75 Patron seating available exclusively at the CESE. Call 590-7444 for details.

More information at

"A Sense of Wonder" highlights Carson's love for the natural world and her fight to defend it. Kaiulani Lee's performance has evoked national attention. Peter Dykstra of CNN had this to say about her show, according to her website,

"Rachel Carson shook the world of journalism and changed the shape of environmental politics. There are few, if any, comparable figures in either field. Kaiulani Lee's performance gave me the opportunity to feel I had met this remarkable woman and experienced the quiet courage of Rachel Carson."

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture is a signature event of the CESE, working to bring public intellectuals to southwest Florida to discuss issues such as sustainability, ethics, democracy, and literature. It's one of the Center's signature fundraising events of the year. They believe they can count on Sanibel to contribute to their noble cause.

Past editions of the lecture have been in Saint Michael and All Angel's Church on Sanibel. This year's theatrical performance will be in Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS on Dunlop Road. Tickets are available at the BIG ARTS Box Office, with special patron tickets available for purchase at the CESE by calling 590-7444.

All proceeds from Patron ticket purchases will go directly to the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, as well as a portion of general admission ticket sales.

The CESE is a scholarly center located at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. The Center works toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth. For additional information on their mission and the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture, visit

FGCU students Andrew Stansell and Kevin Bedson contributed to this story.



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