UO museum celebrating Darwin with speakers series and dinner event

EUGENE, Ore. — (Feb. 10, 2014) — As part of the international celebration of the birth month of Charles Darwin, the Museum of Natural and Cultural History will bring three leading scholars to the University of Oregon to present recent research on evolutionary change.

Greg McDonald of the National Park ServiceThe speakers series is titled "Intimate Relationships — Environment, Climate, and Evolution."

"From wolves to wine grapes, the series emphasizes the interactions between organisms and their environments," said Lauren Willis, the museum's community education coordinator.  

The series kicks off on Friday, Feb. 14, with Greg McDonald's "Sex and the Single Sloth — A Darwinian Valentine." McDonald, the National Park Service's senior curator of natural history, will discuss the ecology and evolution of the extinct giant ground sloth — a major figure in the museum's upcoming "Explore Oregon!" exhibit.

Cristina Eisenberg of Oregon State UniversityOn Friday, Feb. 21, the series continues with "Wolves in Oregon — Conservation and Coexistence" by Cristina Eisenberg of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. Eisenberg will discuss the recent return of the wolf to Oregon, along with the ecological benefits and social challenges that come with their return.

The Feb. 14 and 21 speaking events will take place at 5:30 p.m., in room 110 of the Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. Both events are free.

Gregory Jones, Southern Oregon University (Andrea Johnson Photography)On Friday, Feb. 28, the museum will host "Climate and the Grapevine — A Wine Tasting, Dinner, and Talk," featuring climatologist Gregory Jones of Southern Oregon University. The event will begin with appetizers and a wine tasting with James Beard Award-nominated chef Matt Bennett of Sybaris Bistro in Albany, Ore., followed by Jones' talk on climate trends and what they mean for wine production and quality in Oregon. The event will also include a Northwest-inspired dinner along with a variety of wines from Sweet Cheeks Winery.

"Climate and the Grapevine" will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the UO Ford Alumni Center, 1720 E. 13th Ave. Tickets are $45 for museum members and $55 for the public. The $55 ticket includes a one-year membership to the museum. Tables for eight are available for $400 and include one-year memberships for each table's non-member guests. For more information or to purchase tickets, email Judi Pruitt (judip@uoregon.edu), associate director of public programs at the museum or call 541-346-1671.

"We are pleased to host this unique event as part of the 2014 Darwin series," Pruitt said. "It's a great opportunity to enjoy Oregon's outstanding wines and cuisine while encouraging important conversations about climate change."

About the Museum of Natural and Cultural History
The mission of the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History is to protect significant collections, enhance knowledge, and encourage stewardship of human and natural history through research, preservation, and education. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 1680 E. 15th Ave., near Hayward Field. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths and seniors, and $10 for families (two adults and up to four youths). For more information call 541-346-3024.
Media Contact: Kristin Strommer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, kstromme@uoregon.edu, 541-346-5083

Museum of Natural and Cultural History: http://natural-history.uoregon.edu
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