Darwin Day festivities shed spotlight on monumental scientist

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On Monday, Feb. 12, the Rowan School of Earth and Environment partnered with the College of Science and Mathematics to host Darwin Day in the atrium of the Science Hall. The celebration occurs annually on the date of Darwin’s birth and is meant to provide a broader perspective and appreciation of his work in the study of evolution. For this year’s celebration, Rowan University planned a packed calendar of events.

During the course of the day, two of the same show were hosted in the Edelman Planetarium. The topic of the show was a virtual journey aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, the ship that carried Darwin to the Galapagos islands on his now-famous voyage. In between the two planetarium shows, Tonia Hsieh, an associate professor from Temple University’s Department of Biology was a guest speaker. Hsieh focuses her work on several facets of animal behavior, which builds off of the work that Darwin started.

Other activities at the event included display posters from faculty about Darwin’s life and work. There were also fossil specimens from the nearby Edelman Fossil Park, and for the final three hours of the event, an opportunity to get up close and personal with reptiles from the biology department.

One of the people in attendance at the event was Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, dean of the Rowan School of Earth and Environment, director of the Edelman Fossil Park and a world-renowned paleontologist. Dr. Lacovara said that the lessons Darwin learned during his study can help humanity as a whole.

“Right now the earth is facing lots of problems, including global warming, sea level rise [and] biodiversity crisis,” Lacovara said. “And so Darwin Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn about the earth and life on earth, to learn about where we came from and to learn about what we have to do to get to where we would like to be in the future.”

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