The Darwin Day Celebration went very well. Our speaker, author Mary Anne Farah, was able to be at the meetup despite a very bad snow storm in Ontario Canada. She left early Friday to go to a meetup in Toledo and was stopped by the storm only a half hour from her home. She couldn’t even get back to her home at that point and had to get a hotel room for the night. Luckily she was able to continue to Toledo on Saturday where she was a speaker at the Great Lakes Atheists Darwin Day event. Mary Anne then came to Mansfield today and was early for our event.
Our event started with me giving a brief opening. Then Drenn Workman, Mid Ohio Atheists Vice President, gave a presentation on the life of Darwin and his voyage of discovery to South America aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, a survey vessel. The presentation also covered the Theory of Evolution that Darwin wrote about in his seminal work, On the Origin of Species.
The next speaker was Mary Anne who presented her e-book, Pepper’s Special Wings. Mary Anne said she thought the evolution of the peppered moth species in England would be the perfect subject for a children’s book explaining how evolution through natural selection works.
Pepper’s Special Wings is about a peppered moth aptly named Pepper that was darker than her friends, who were mostly white with small flecks of black. There were a lot more light colored moths than dark ones. Mary Anne asked for volunteers from the audience to help count the moths on the white birch tree. Two children came up and it was easy for them to find the dark colored moth but not so easy to find the white moths.
In the story, Pepper had to be very careful to hide from hungry birds because she was so easily seen whereas her white friends didn’t have to be so careful since they were harder to see on the white birch bark.
The story goes on to describe how industry moved close by where the moths lived and soot from the air pollution the factories produced had turned the trees to a much darker color. Now it was easy for Pepper to hide from the hungry birds but not so easy for her friends. Pepper went on to have lots of babies so that eventually the forest was full of dark moths like Pepper.
I thought it was a great learning experience for the kids and they seemed to really enjoy the story.
I am sure we will have more events like this in the future since this was so enjoyable. Mary Anne was a great speaker and I would recommend her to anyone. I want to thank her for coming all the way from Canada to Mansfield. I also wish to thank Drenn Workman for presenting and Barbara Williams for letting us borrow her projector. Special thanks goes to Marisa Hills for planning and coordinating the event.