Darwin Day is an international day of celebration on or around Charles Darwin’s birthday (February 12th). The mission of the established day is to spread awareness, intellectual curiosity and a hunger for scientific knowledge among humans across the globe. This concept is imperative; spreading a desire to understand more about the world and the planet, especially to younger generations is the best mechanism for activating change and preventing the ignorance that is currently destroying us from spreading.
The Marine Biology Club from the University of Minnesota, in which I am an active member, participated in Darwin Day 2015 at the Science Museum of Minnesota. We are very fortunate to have a “Traveling Touch Tank” – that is, a portable tank full of small marine invertebrates that the club takes to schools and other educational events to do outreach volunteering with young kids and teach them about the ocean and the organisms that inhabit it. These outreach events have been an amazing way to interact with young kids and teach them about different sea creatures and it provides an opportunity to bring up the subject of ocean conservation and the importance of preserving marine ecosystems. Nothing helps an idea sink in more than hands-on experience; and letting kids actually handle marine animals helps to create a mental awareness of life forms that are dependent on humans changing their destructive behavior in order to survive.
This is a great video that gives some meaning to the phrase “ocean acidification.”
Educating the youth of today is a powerful tool in preventing a catastrophe from happening in the future. Propagation of science education and stimulating a thirst for learning more about the natural world is so crucial; it is easy for kids to fall behind in their science education when schools cut funding for labs and lack a strong, well-rounded science curriculum. I encourage everyone to help foster a love for science in the young people that they interact with, and place votes on government representatives who value science education. Together we can save the oceans today and prepare youth to keep it preserved in the future.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.
.. (e.e. Cummings)