No, not THAT kind of Darwin Award. The other one .. the “Friend of Darwin” award:
It’s an age-old story–the master and the newcomer. The expert who has devoted decades to keeping students on the right path. And the new kid who throws himself into the battle for truth, beauty, and the sheer joy of challenging the status quo.
The master–and a winner of NCSE’s 2012 Friend of Darwin award–is Judy Scotchmoor, Assistant Director for Education and Public Programs at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP). Scotchmoor is a legend among scientists, educators, and museum staff, having built UCMP’s highly regarded evolution program from scratch over the last 18 years. Her work includes the wildly popular “Understanding Evolution” and “Understanding Science” web sites, which clock over a million visitors per month. Scotchmoor was also the motive force behind the 2000 National Conference on the Teaching of Evolution, which galvanized scientists and educators to take the growing attacks on evolution education seriously.
“It would be difficult to think of another person who has done more, and in such a sustained way, to promote and improve the teaching of evolution”, says NCSE executive director Eugenie Scott. “Anyone concerned about evolution education knows and respects Judy.”
The young activist making a big splash–the other winner of the 2012 Friend of Darwin award–is Louisiana’s Zack Kopplin. As part of a high school class project in 2011, Kopplin decided to organize a repeal of the creationist-backed Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). And he nearly succeeded, spearheading a statewide petition campaign that gathered 68,000 signatures. Kopplin was unstoppable, holding rallies and news conferences, appearing on dozens of local and national radio and TV shows, convincing the city of New Orleans to officially endorse his effort, getting a state senator to sponsor and introduce a repeal bill, recruiting forty-three Nobel laureates to support the repeal, and more….