Darwin Day at UA – this month’s student voice

Photo of table/booth at the event

UA’s Forest Stewards Guild Student Chapter table on phototropism

Written by Aurora Baker, Guild student member, The University of Alabama

Darwin Day is more than just a celebration of the father of evolution: it’s a celebration of science with the purpose of spreading information and generating interest among the public. The University of Alabama celebrated Darwin Day by hosting an event in the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Although Darwin Day at UA is geared towards school-aged children to increase general interest in STEM, the event also included college students across a variety of majors and interests. A wide range of informational tables included topics such as clams, fossils, and the evolution of Homo sapiens.

The UA Student Chapter of the Forest Stewards Guild had its own table highlighting phototropism and Darwin’s contributions to the subject. Phototropism is the concept of plants bending towards or away from light, which is now known to be the result of the hormone auxin leading to cell growth and elongation in the shaded part of the plant. Darwin and his son, Francis, conducted the earliest experiments in this field, while scientists such as Boysen-Jensen and Went made further contributions. To demonstrate this concept, our table included a pipe cleaner craft of a flower bending towards the sun. Visitors were able to learn a scientific concept and take part in a fun activity. Darwin Day isn’t the only thing the UA Student Chapter has been up to these past few months. We have also hosted game nights, tree ID hikes, and Project Learning Tree training. So, there’s never a dull moment!