Evolution in Action
How can we impact society through science and art? Our aim is to promote understanding of evolution, its timescales and how humans impact ecological and evolutionary processes. This will guarantee that people of all ages understand how biological interactions shape and maintain biodiversity and how human actions currently threaten it. We want ensure easy access to this information and our workshops, and they are all freely available.
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The Evolution in Action project was founded in 2017 by a group of scientists in the Department of Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. It was initially funded by an ESEB Outreach Initiative grant and we are currently funded by Tieteen tiedotus ry and Kone Foundation. In 2019 we started collaborating with artists and art educators, and are currently working on workshops combining art and science supported by Kone Foundation grant 2020-2022.
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“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” Theodosius Dobzhansky
We want to increase knowledge about biodiversity, where it comes from and how we are all dependent on it. Our workshops demonstrate evolutionary mechanisms shaping biodiversity in nature.
These workshops provide science and art-based tools which will help participants to understand and connect to evolutionary processes. They also promote critical thinking skills, and encourage participants to ask questions and present their own ideas. These activities introduce participants to inquiry-based learning and encourage curiosity.
Our goals are:
* To increase knowledge about species interaction and how do they shape organisms evolution. Where does the biodiversity in nature - that is now a lot spoken about - come from?
* To increase understanding of evolution being an active process that is happening now, not only something that happened in the past. Organisms (including humans) are developing in interaction with each other, also at the present moment.
* To demonstrate how and why understanding and researching evolutionary theory is important in understanding climate change and the loss of organisms habitats. The slowness of evolutionary processess is the reason why many species cannot adapt to the rapidly changing climate caused by human action, and to the loss of their habitats, but get eventually extinct.
* To demonstrate how scientific information is produced and its different stages, and increase knowledge in the evolution biology research made in Finland, and it's significance.
* To offer art based methods for the participants to process and deepen their relationship to the nature and natural phenomena, and to work with the emotions related to challenging environmental questions, such as climate change and human impact on ecosystem.
* To strenghten an empathetic and respectful relationship to all forms of life and to encourage participants to act for the sustainable future.
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We create freely available, teaching materials (under the terms of CreativeCommons-licence) to equip educators to teach evolutionary processes in diverse and intriguing ways. The material links with the new Finnish Science curriculum and phenomena based education.
We also organize workshops for children, and short courses for teachers / student teachers to use these workshops in their own teaching. You can invite us for a visit (free of charge). Workshops are suitable for a variety of ages and are offered in both Finnish and English. By working with schools and educators we hope to ensure equal opportunities for everyone to learn about biodiversity, evolutionary processes and how science based information is produced.