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Natural History Museum Responds to Evolution Debate Organizations Around the U.S. Look to Develop Similar Programs

(PRWEB) December 8, 2005 -- In an effort to address the challenges educators face on the current complicated evolution and creationism debate, particularly around the issue of “intelligent design”, the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) will hold its next volunteer training seminar on December 15, Evolution and Creationism, An Educator’s Guide to Evolution, and organizations around the U.S. are quickly following suit.

 “  Zoos and aquariums, as well as their counterparts at other informal science institutions, have the unique opportunity to educate people about the science behind the theory of evolution and how that theory plays out right before their eyes in the variety o  
Created and presented by PRI Director, Dr. Warren Allmon, the seminar was produced in response to a growing concern among museum docents and volunteers about how to answer questions regarding evolution and creationism. In addition to the seminar, the third one offered since August at the Museum of the Earth, the PRI also offers an educator’s guide to evolution on their Web site --www.priweb.org or www.museumoftheearth.org.

The guide, which PRI plans to produce as a book, has received more than 100 web hits to date and the institution has received more than 70 calls and emails from museums and organizations around the U.S. inquiring about adapting the guide for their own volunteers and docents.

One such organization looking to adapt the guide is The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to better suit the needs of its zoo docents. Karen Tingley, Curator of Education
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 at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, New York, and a member of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is concerned about the current direction of science education
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 and will be attending the next seminar in Ithaca.

“Zoos and aquariums, as well as their counterparts at other informal science institutions, have the unique opportunity to educate people about the science behind the theory of evolution and how that theory plays out right before their eyes in the variety of species in our parks. “ Tingley said.

“The WCS education
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 department wants to educate its instructors and volunteers on how to effectively convey these scientific messages without juxtaposing them against the religious ideas in creationism or intelligent design. This class along with adapting Dr. Allmon's Guide for Docents will hopefully be useful tools that will aid is mission to educate the public.”

The upcoming seminar at PRI and the Museum also comes on the heels of a recent State of the University speech given by Hunter Rawlings III, Interim President of Cornell University, with which the PRI is affiliated. The focus of his speech was on the integrity of the science taught in American schools and universities and the importance of separating science from philosophy and religion.

"I am convinced that the political movement seeking to inject religion into state policy and our schools is serious enough to require our collective time and attention.” Rawlings said.

The seminar will be held on December 15th at 5pm in the Museum of the Earth classroom and is open to the public. For more information or directions, please visit www.museumoftheearth.org or to RSVP, please call 607.273.6623 ext. 13 or email e-mail protected from spam bots.

The Paleontological Research Institution exists to increase the understanding of the history of the Earth and its life. The Institution conducts and facilitates paleontological research and communicates knowledge resulting from this research. It houses, curates, and offers specimen collections and a research library, publishes scholarly and popular paleontological books and journals, and it promotes education about Earth’s history and paleontology by providing exhibits to the general public and educational materials and programs to schools and students of all ages and levels. The PRI opened the Museum of the Earth in 2003 to give the public access to this learning through exhibits and programs.

Media Contact:
Amy Naim 607-273-6623 ext. 26 or e-mail protected from spam bots



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