As I’ve written several times in the past (here, for example), the Southeastern U.S. has a spotty record at best at teaching evolution at the K-12 level. There are many many wonderful teachers in the Southeast, but there is also cultural resistance. My friend & colleague Amanda Glaze, now blogging for EvoS, has worked with these teachers for years. Over the past few years, we’ve begun collaborating on a number of projects that I’ll write more about in the future but that I have neglected for so long here that my brain is backlogged with the many things I want to write about (& lord knows, no one wants to read a blog post that’s longer than an ethnographic journal article—& I write them, so—oy—I am not slagging ethnographers but speaking from experience).
First, this past Darwin Day cum Valentine’s Day, Amanda & I were among those on the program committee (also Michaela Howells, Steve Platek, Kilian Garvey, & David Kopaska-Merkel) for the first annual Southeastern Evolutionary Perspective Society conference. This new professional organization is dedicated to cross-disciplinary evolutionary research, education, & outreach & based in the Southeast. Like NEEPS, the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, we’re based in the region but not exclusive to it. We welcome folks from anywhere, but, as the Human Behavior & Evolution Society & Society for the Study of Evolution & other such organizations have grown immense, we wanted something we could offer for students to attend & present research at where they wouldn’t get lost, where we could meet everyone attending, & where we could talk about teaching & outreach in our local community by talking WITH our local communities. We hope SEEPS will grow, so maybe down the road, we’ll have size problems too. But in the meantime, we wanted to replicate the intimate experiences we’ve had at smaller conferences.
The first meeting was held over Darwin Day weekend at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It grew out of UA’s EvoS-hosted Darwin Day event. Hosting it on Darwin’s birthday seemed a perfect date & great way to capitalize on a time of year not already saturated with conferences. Furthermore, several NEEPS friends came down from Michigan & New York, where it’s cold that time of year. Alabama may be many things to many people, but cold in February it is not. Yay Alabama winter!
The first conference was also supported by the UA College of Arts & Sciences & a grant from HBES. The conference began with a half day on Friday, followed by a banquet with a keynote by Dean Falk & an hilarious game of PowerPoint roulette (Come to SEEPS 2017 to experience it yourself!). Saturday featured more talks, our first business meeting, a poster session, more & more talks, then a mixer at Druid City Brewing (thanks to those guys for being the official SEEPS 2016 watering hole). Sunday was another half day, beginning with an experiential workshop & followed a few more hours of talks.
SEEPS 2016 was such a resounding success & Tuscaloosa such a good location for it, that we decided to host it again for 2017. We do plan to shift it around, but we want to fix a few mistakes first. Changes in the coming year will include adding a Kids Evolutionary Perspectives Society (KEPS) pre-conference on Thursday, February 9 that will be all workshops targeting K-12 students, educators, & families. That will be hosted at the Alabama Natural History Museum & free to attend. SEEPS will be held over two full days on Friday & Saturday, February 10-11, with actual Darwin Day as a day of rest (like God, we all like a day to rest & just hang out with our fellow SEEPsters, or, as the case may be, drive or fly home).
We are accepting KEPS workshop & SEEPS presentation proposals through the end of this month. Follow this link for more info: http://seepsociety.weebly.com/. Contact me if you have any questions or want to get involved!
Photos by Kilian Garvey & author.