What Are You Doing for Darwin Day?

Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the anniversary of Charles Darwin‘s birth in 1809. Honoring the discoveries and life of Darwin—the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection—Darwin Day celebrates the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge has contributed to the advancement of humanity.

The International Darwin Day Foundation, a project of the American Humanist Association, has a newly designed website at darwinday.org, providing resources and how-to guides for Darwin Day events, in addition to listing all the celebratory events that take place on and around February 12.

The American Humanist Association encourages local and national organizations to participate in celebrating Darwin Day. Some local groups host social gatherings and speakers to celebrate Darwin’s birthday while others promote the importance of science and evolution through hands-on activities.

This year, several local chapters and affiliates of the American Humanist Association are making early plans for Darwin Day. The Secular Humanists of the Low Country, located in Charleston, South Carolina, will participate for the second year in a row in 2015 Piccolo Darwin Week, Charleston’s second annual celebration of evolutionary science for children and youth. Amy Monsky, president of Secular Humanists of the Low Country, will lead an educational activity for elementary-aged children entitled “Evolution of the Universe… in a Necklace?” As Monsky re-tells the origin of the universe, participants will add “a bead for the galaxies and a bead for our solar system” to the necklace.

The Central Colorado Humanists in Salida, Colorado, will show a film about epigenetic anomalies on February 12, followed by a “Happy Birthday Darwin” cake and ice cream.

On February 5, the Humanist Forum of Central Kentucky will host Dan Phelps, president of the Kentucky Paleontology Society. Phelps will present “The Geology of Antarctica and the Natural History of the Antarctic Peninsula,” based upon his recent trip to Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

The Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island will be hosting an all-day celebration of Darwin Day. John Watras, Mayor of Garden City, is declaring Feb. 12 as Darwin Day in Garden City with a Proclamation. Later, Dr. John Teehan of Hofstra University will present a talk entitled “A Darwinian Approach to Religion: Humanistic Implications.” Following Dr. Teehan’s presentation, the afternoon will be filled with poetry readings, musical performances, and games.

The Red Bank Humanists from Red Bank, New Jersey, will host Rob Richard, president of the Biology Teachers Association of New Jersey, who will speak on the methods and challenges of teaching evolution in schools on February 8.

How do you plan to celebrate Darwin Day? Here are some ideas:

1. Find or create a Darwin Day event at www.darwinday.org. Our goal this year is to have over 500 Darwin Day events held around the world! See how other groups are celebrating and generate a new idea for celebrating in 2015.

2. “Like” Darwin Day on Facebook. We’ll be posting daily updates on the Darwin Day Facebook page, such as breaking news on science or evolution issues, information local Darwin Day events, sharable cover/profile images of Darwin and evolution, and more! You can also join our official Darwin Day 2015 Facebook event.

3. Encourage your local government to issue a Darwin Day Proclamation. Meet with your city council members or state legislators to show their support of evolution by recognizing February 12 as Darwin Day. If you or your group has already successfully lobbied your elected official to support Darwin Day, let us know, and we’ll share your success with others on the Darwin Day website.

Darwin Day is a fun, educational celebration for humanists, atheists, science advocates, and all who support evolution in our schools and greater knowledge of science in our society. Learn more at darwinday.org.