Darwin Day

12 Feb

ImageToday, February 12, 2014 is Charles Darwin’s 205th Birthday – unofficially recognized as Darwin Day, a day to consider what science and medicine have achieved since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species. For suggestions on how you can celebrate / honor / enjoy this day, see the list below, which I have taken from the Darwin Day Challenge Scavenger Hunt. The scavenger hunt was originally meant to be tackled as a 30 day exercise ending today, but since today is the last day, just pick one from the list.

Darwin Scavenger Challenge 2014

  1. Reacquaint yourself with the classification of plants and animals: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.  (You can use Wikipedia or the kid-friendly link above.)
  2. Read a book about Charles Darwin to yourself or family members. (ex. Tree of Life by Peter Sis, One beetle too many : the extraordinary adventures of Charles Darwin)
  3. Draw a picture of yourself with a beard like Charles Darwin or make one and take a picture of you wearing it. (I would love to see pets wearing it too.)
  4. Watch a movie or show that features Charles Darwin. (BrainPop What Darwin Didn’t Know,  Creation,Master and Commander)
  5. Create your own Phylum Feast – a meal with as much biological diversity as possible.  Or just label all dishes in your meal by their main ingredients’ scientific names.
  6. Visit a Science Institution. (in SoCal: California Science Center , Discovery CenterNatural History Museum).
  7. Visit a zoo, farm or animal sanctuary and observe characteristics and/or adaptations of species from the same continent (in LA county LA ZooGibbon SanctuaryUnderwood FarmsGentle Barn).
  8. Design, draw or create a life form of the future.  Consider what might truly exist in 1,000 years based on the future changes of our planet.  Or just let your imagination go inter-planetary.  We will quite possibly know more neighbors in the next millenia.
  9. Habitat Hike – Take a hike in nature and observe it as a habitat.  What are some possible food chains in that environment? What types of homes have the animals and insects created?  Can you identify examples of all five Kingdoms on your walk? How many different species of one animal can you count?
  10. Recreate a habitat out of anything you want: legos, art supplies, minecraft, cheese, etc.
  11. Do something to help protect or clean up your world.  The sky is the limit.
  12. Attend any naturalist event.  Ranger-led or docent-led hikes, a nature talk (Santa Monica Mts Events), a biology lecture, etc.
  13. Make 3 lists of adaptations. One each for an animal, bug and plant of your choosing.
  14. Set up a debate on any topic with your family and/or friends (it does not have to be evolution vs creation).  This is to celebrate our investment in rational thought!
  15. Visit an institution involved with Astronomy or the Sciences of the Sky.  (Griffith observatory or any LA-area planetarium .
  16. Draw the night sky anyway you wish to depict it.
  17. Sit outside anywhere and spend 5 minutes with your eyes closed listening to as much life as you can detect (if you fall asleep you will have to start all over).  Spend an additional 5 minutes counting the evidence of biological diversity of life. Leaves rustling- 1; bird chirping-2; crow caws -3; car starting – 4; children wiggling – 5; bicycle in park -6; insect snapping-7.
  18. Visit any body of water and witness the life there (or absence of life).  Beach, pond, river, creek, even a puddle counts.
  19. Spend 3 consecutive hours using ONLY the items that existed during Darwin’s life 1809-1882.  No cellphones, no microwaves, no cars, no tvs, no computers, no refrigerators, no light switches (invented in 1884 by John Henry Holmes). Bonus point if you can go a whole day.  Doing this while you sleep will not count.
  20. Observe a sunset.
  21. Observe a sunrise.
  22. Touch a fossil.  Darwin was fascinated by fossils, since so many that were unearthed during his time were not a perfect match to the animals alive.  He felt the fossil records of his time were not complete enough to prove his theories.
  23. Learn 5 facts about one animal or bird that is extinct.
  24. Learn 5 facts about an animal or bird on the endangered species list including how many are left on the planet.  Example – 150 Kakapo’s left.
  25. Find out which threatened species lives closest to your home.
  26. Attend a cultural event or festival to better understand the diversity of your species. (A few SoCal fests: theLunar New Year Fest (1/18), and LA’s Chinatown New Year’s Parade (2/1) and Vietnamese Tet(2/7,8&9).
  27. Imagine your life if you were a different race, sex, neuraltype, sexual orientation, or nationality (or all of them).
  28. Build a monument outdoors to Science (temporary, permanent, or whatever).  Take a picture and send it to me if you can.
  29. Read some pages outloud of any of Darwin’s books.  Origin of Species is the most famous.


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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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