Under an outdoor tent on Montgomery College's Germantown campus, reformers who challenged America's environmental policies will be portrayed next week during the school's fifth annual chautauqua, a living history program.

The event, "The American Environment: Voices and Choices," features four evening programs that combine music, theater and history to explore environmental issues that arose during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The free presentations, which are sponsored in association with the Maryland Humanities Council, start Tuesday with "An Evening With Scales and Tales." Naturalists from the Maryland State Forest and Park Service will use live animals in a talk about Maryland's native birds and reptiles and the problems they face, including pollution and loss of habitat. Dan Mazer will perform acoustic bluegrass music as "Banjer Dan."

On Wednesday, writer and ecologist Rachel Carson will be portrayed by Doris Dwyer, a professor at Western Nevada Community College. Next Thursday, Kevin Radaker, chairman of the English department at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., will portray writer, philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau.

On July 9, historian Doug Mishler will portray Theodore Roosevelt, who as president established the U.S. Forest Service. Each presentation will be preceded by a musical performance that sets the theme and the time period for the act.

"I want it to be a fun and enjoyable educational activity," said Kathy Michaelian, instructional dean at the Germantown campus. "The enactors want people to have fun learning about our history and environment, and in this college setting, I want people to learn about it, too."

The free presentations will begin at 6:30 p.m. To request a sign language interpreter, call the Maryland Humanities Council at 410-771-0652. For more information on the chautauqua, call 301-353-7746 or visit www.montgomerycollege.edu.

Doris Dwyer of Western Nevada Community College will portray Rachel Carson at a chautauqua on Montgomery College's Germantown campus.