UWM Darwin Day

UWM Darwin Day - February 17th, 2024
Event Overview

Darwin Day is a public outreach event celebrating the life and times of one of the most brilliant and influential Victorian naturalists, Charles R. Darwin. Darwin was an avid geologist and biologist who most famously developed the theory of natural selection—one of the driving mechanisms behind biological evolution—published in his seminal work: On the Origin of Species. Today, this theory forms the foundation for many of our natural sciences. Darwin Day is a national celebration of Darwin’s scientific legacy typically held on (or near) his birthday.
This event is free and open to guests of all ages. Many wonderful geological and biological specimens will be available to observe, with volunteers on hand to explain their fascinating histories. Learning tables will focus on the natural history of Wisconsin and the contributions of Thomas A. Greene to our understanding of local Wisconsin geology, with many rare and beautiful samples on display in the Greene Geological Museum. Other activities will be available throughout the day, including scientific lectures presented by UWM scientists and guest speakers, a scavenger hunt, coloring and crafts for young kids, and a free planetarium show. See the activities list and schedule of events below for more information.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Event Activities

Thomas A. Greene Geological Museum: Our small but mighty museum of rocks, minerals, and fossils will be open for guests to tour throughout the event. The Thomas A. Greene Geological Museum houses specimens obtained by the prolific collector and gallery namesake, Thomas A. Greene, throughout the mid-to-late 19th century from Wisconsin and other locales. Many of the mineralogical specimens on display are one-of-a-kind and originate from localities no longer accessible to modern geologists! The Museum is also highly valuable for paleontological research and houses the single best collection of marine Silurian invertebrate fossils in North America. If you have never had the opportunity to visit the Museum, now is a great time!
For more information on the Thomas A. Greene Geological Museum, please see our website (https://uwm.edu/geosciences/research/greene-museum/).

Learning Tables: See and learn about your own Wisconsin natural heritage! Numerous tables will be set up throughout the first floor of Lapham Hall displaying a wide assortment of specimens including rocks, minerals, fossils, and even animals! Volunteers—our very own UWM students and staff—will be available all day to teach you about these fascinating objects, their importance to the natural sciences, and their value to our local communities.

Also on display will be wonderful specimens brought in by our local community partners:

The Wisconsin Geological Society (https://www.wigeo.org/)
The Mequon Nature Preserve (https://mequonnaturepreserve.org/#1)
The Milwaukee Public Museum (https://www.mpm.edu/)
The Kettle Moraine Geological Society (http://www.kmgsrocks.com/)
The Manfred Olson Planetarium (https://uwm.edu/planetarium/)
Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey (https://home.wgnhs.wisc.edu/)
CoffeeShop Astrophysics (https://coffeeshopastrophysics.github.io/#)

Lectures: Three lectures will be presented throughout the day by UWM scientists and guest speakers. See the schedule of events below for lecture topics and times:

Time Presentation Presenter & Location Details
10:00 AM Event Start
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
11:30 AM Keynote Presentation
Darwin Had a Problem: a Century Passed Before it was Solved
Dr. Peter Sheehan
(KIRC 1150)
Darwin had a problem after writing On the Origin of Species… Natural selection is typically a very slow process, but evolution seemed to speed up during some geological intervals. The answer to this riddle was hidden in museums like UWM’s Greene Geological Museum.
12:00 PM  
12:30 PM
1:00 PM The Lapham Legacy: A Conversation with Increase Lapham Michael Stebbins & Dr. Chris Young
(Lapham 162)
Enjoy a conversation between Increase Lapham (namesake of Lapham Hall) and Chris Young. Learn all about this historical geologist and his contributions to UWM and Milwaukee science!
1:30 PM
2:00 PM Claws, Teeth, and Feathers: Building a Dinosaur through Evolution Chase Shelburne
(Lapham 162)
What makes a dinosaur a dinosaur? Learn about the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, and what distinguishes them from other animal groups!

Solar System Expedition

Manfred Olson Planetarium

Enjoy a trip through our solar system! Free tickets will be provided to a limited number of guests during the event.
2:30 PM
3:00 PM Event end

Scavenger Hunt: Find specimens; win prizes! This all-ages activity has you finding key specimens scattered throughout the event. When you find a specimen, a volunteer will stamp your scavenger hunt card. When you find all five, bring your card to the Children’s Activities area to claim an awesome prize!

Student Research Showcase: UWM is a leading national research institution, and our students will make sure you don’t forget it! Stop by our student research showcase table throughout the day to learn what our very own geoscience and biological science graduate students are working on. Students will cycle in throughout the day, so stop by a few times and check out the groundbreaking research going on here at UWM!

You can also take a pleasant stroll down our Student Research Display hallway to see some of the great presentations given by our students throughout the years!

Thomas A. Greene’s Glowing Cavern: These minerals really glow! Come see our most impressive fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals literally glow in the dark. A small, guided space will be available all day to experience minerals in a way few people ever do.

Children’s Activities: For parents, activities will be available to their younger children. These include coloring, arts and crafts, button-making, and an interactive sandbox. You can even help make an awesome rock keychain! Remember, you’re never too young to start learning!

Touch Tables: See, touch, and discover! Stop by and explore an array of fascinating specimens and models, all safe to touch. Experience natural history with all your senses!

Planetarium Show: The Manfred Olson Planetarium (https://uwm.edu/planetarium/) will be providing one free planetarium show at 2:00 PM. After a full day of learning all about the Earth, finish strong by learning about the majesty of the Universe! (ticket number limited)

Guests will meet Planetarium staff at the NW entrance of Lapham Hall at 1:45 PM, who will then guide you to the Planetarium.

Location & Parking

The event will be located on the first floor of Lapham Hall on the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee campus. Lapham Hall is located near the corner of Maryland Ave and Kenwood Blvd. Entrances to the building can be found along the east side of the building along Maryland Ave, and along the west side of the building. Extensive construction is currently taking place on the south side of the building.

Nearby off-street hourly rate parking can be accessed near the event venue. Covered garage parking is recommended, though surface lot parking is also available. Recommended parking locations are listed below. Additional parking options are outlined on the UWM Transportation Services website (https://uwm.edu/transportation/rates/#dailyhourly).

Covered Parking: Lubar Garage, Union Garage, EMS Garage

Surface Parking: Cunningham Surface Lot, Architecture Surface Lot

Additional on-street parking can be found along Kenwood Blvd and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Please refer to the campus maps below for more details on parking and event layout:



Thanks, and we hope to see you there!

For more information, please contact:
Chase Shelburne: shelbur2@uwm.edu
Rob Graziano: graziano@uwm.edu

We would like to offer our sincerest gratitude to our UWM collaborators, community partners, UWM volunteers, and the Greene family for contributing to the success of this event.

This event was sponsored by:

Diamond Sponsors:

Ruby Sponsors: