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Convocation speaker will step into Darwin's shoes

January  31, 2012

Brian Ellis as Darwin

Imagine an afternoon at London’s Royal Geological Society, with a young Charles Darwin, listening to the tales of his adventures and the scientific evidence that lead to his revolutionary theory. Storyteller, author and naturalist Brian “Fox” Ellis will step into Darwin’s shoes for a free, public performance on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 10:30 a.m. in Augustana College’s Centennial Hall (3703 7th Ave.).

Ellis’ performance, titled “My Revolutionary Idea,” is timed to correspond with Darwin Day, an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around Feb. 12, the date of Darwin’s birth in 1809. The show also ties to the efforts of the Augustana Darwin Club.

Ellis will model the scientific process, engaging listeners in a discussion of the facts, so they can draw their own conclusions concerning Darwin’s revolutionary theory of biological evolution through natural selection. He will bring with him an array of fossils, insects, plants and study skins so the audience can experience the discoveries of Darwin through hands-on analysis.

“The research for this show was simply awe-inspiring. Darwin was a great storyteller,” said Ellis. “Darwin’s words truly changed the way we view the world, and my goal is to give the audience a palpable experience of his epic voyage, allowing them to make their own discoveries.”

Ellis has traveled, performed and educated audiences around the world for more than 30 years. He is a museum consultant who has worked with Chicago’s Field Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill., among others. He also serves as artistic director for Prairie Folklore Theatre, a Peoria-based theatre company that celebrates ecology and history through original musical theatre. Ellis is the author of 15 books, and his children's picture book, The Web at Dragonfly Pond, won a national award as Conservation Education Book of the Year in 2006.

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu