NIMBioS postdocs Clemente Aguilar and Jiang Jiang (pictured incognito, left to right) donned Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace costumes and braved the frigid temperatures on Market Square in Knoxville on Friday to celebrate Darwin Day.
The life-sized puppets were just one of the many activities that NIMBioS helped support as a part of the annual “Darwin Day” celebrations at UTK, which began Jan. 24 and run until Darwin’s birthday on Feb. 12. An international celebration, Darwin Day is used as an opportunity for education and outreach activities in evolutionary biology. Established in 1997, UTK boasts one of the oldest student-run Darwin Day organizations in the world. The theme of this year’s Darwin Day centers on Wallace, Darwin’s colleague known as the “father of biogeography” who independently conceived the theory of evolution through natural selection but who was overshadowed by the more well-known Darwin.
NIMBioS also co-hosted the Darwin Day Teacher Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 8 at NIMBioS, which provided local teachers with new tips and techniques for teaching evolution. Middle and high school teachers as well as teaching staff from local university and community colleges participated. Co-sponsored by UT’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, the workshop included Biology in a Box activities, teacher discussion, resource sharing, as well as lunch and door prizes.
Other NIMBioS postdocs have lent their expertise to Darwin Day activities. Jeremy Beaulieu will lead a Q&A on evolution tomorrow, which will be televised campus-wide from 5 – 6 p.m. on the Freethought Forum (Comcast channel 12, Charter channel 6, live streaming at: http://www.ctvknox.org/ ).
On Saturday, Jan. 25, postdoc Nick Matzke, a former communications director for the National Center for Science Education, led a tour of the historic Dayton, TN courthouse that was the site of the infamous Scopes trail. Matzke also presented a talk at the Teacher Workshop about defending teaching of evolution in schools.
For more information, including a complete schedule of events, visit the event’s website.
[Updated 2/10/14 @14:48 p.m. — Beaulieu’s Q&A has been canceled.]