ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) is hosting their annual Darwin Days celebration Feb. 8 to Feb. 15.
Come experience the wild world of evolution through our annual celebration of the life and ideas of Charles Darwin. This year’s theme is the Power of Pollination: plants and their pollinators are partners in an elaborate love story that keeps our ecosystems—and us—healthy. Discover their complex saga of co-evolution.
The week of Ithaca’s Darwin Days events starts out with the screening of the film “Wings of Life” on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m., at Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St, Ithaca. In this stunning film full of intrigue, drama and mesmerizing beauty, you’ll get up close and personal with pollinators –– butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and bats–upon whom a third of the world’s food supply depends. Incredible cinematography, high-speed, and time-lapse filmmaking showcase the unsung heroes of our planet in spectacular detail.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m., come join us for Darwin Days Conservatory Tour at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory (236 Tower Rd, Cornell University, Ithaca) where you can view the live plant collection housed in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory and hear about their unique pollination strategies.
Darwin Days Panel Discussion on “The Diverse World of Pollinators” will be held on Monday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m., at the Tompkins County Public Library, 101 E. Green St, Ithaca. Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes: insects, birds, bats, and even people. As pollinators visit flowers to feed, they move pollen between flowers and help plants reproduce. Pollination is essential to a third of the world’s food supply, as well as ecosystem stability around the globe. Though pollinators are extremely diverse, many are also in danger. Join us for a panel discussion encompassing the breadth of pollinator diversity and the challenges facing them today.
On Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. is Darwin’s Cabaret with Dr. Anurag Agrawal who will be speaking on “Pollination and Coevolution: Love Story or Arms Race?” The presentation will be held at Tompkins County Public Library 101 E. Green St, Ithaca. Dr. Agrawal, the James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies at Cornell University, will be giving an engaging and friendly science presentation about the remarkable story of co-evolution between plants and pollinators. Using striking visual imagery, Dr. Agrawal will explore some of Darwin’s early ideas about co-evolution and relate this to the natural history of insects on plants, including monarchs and milkweed. Free refreshments will be served. Dr. Agrawal will have copies of his book, “Monarchs and Milkweed”, available for sale and signing.
Dr. Robert Raguso will give the Darwin Days Keynote Presentation on “Perfumes and Pollinators” on Wednesday, Feb.12, 6 p.m. in Malott Hall’s Bache Auditorium (301 Tower Rd, Cornell University, Ithaca. Dr. Raguso is a Professor in Cornell’s Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. Dr. Raguso’s talk will explore the “big questions” in pollination and the ways they are impacted by scents, unseen. Pollination is one of the most important interactions in the natural world. It nurtures incredible diversity in flowering plants and pollinators, as they constantly evolve in response to each other. Since the days of Darwin, scientists have observed the remarkable diversity of ways that flowers adapt to attract different types of pollinators but have often paid little mind to the way that floral chemistry affects pollination.
Come test your knowledge of science, nature, evolution, and pollination during Darwin’s Trivia Challenge on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at The Rhine House, 632 W. Seneca St. Ithaca. There are prizes for the winning teams. Maximum 6 players per team.
The annual Darwin Family Day is on Saturday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Museum of the Earth, 1259 Trumansburg Rd. Ithaca. Celebrate the birthday and works of Charles Darwin with fun activities around the “Bees! Diversity, Evolution and Conservation” special exhibit at the Museum of the Earth. Explore ancient and contemporary insects, pollinators, and plants. Make amber “slime” with bee erasers inside. Come take a selfie with Charles Darwin at our photo booth. Learn about the amazing Xanthopan moth’s pollination activity. Join us at 11 a.m. for a special “Plants for Pollinators” event and take-home plants for the pollinators in your own backyard.
Ithaca’s Darwin Days are sponsored by Cornell University and the Paleontological Research Institution.
About the Paleontological Research Institution
Founded in 1932, the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) has outstanding programs in research, collections, publications, and public education. The Institution cares for a collection of over three million specimens (one of the 10 largest in the U.S.), and publishes Bulletins of American Paleontology, the oldest paleontological journal in the Western Hemisphere, begun in 1895. PRI is a national leader in the development of Earth science education resources for educators and the general public.
PRI and its two public venues for education, the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, are separate from, but formally affiliated with Cornell University, and interact closely with numerous University departments in research, teaching, and public outreach. They are a proud member of the Discovery Trail.