Monday, December 15, 2008

Announcing the 200th Anniversary Darwin Day Essay Contest

The year 2009 marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his landmark work, The Origin of Species. To celebrate this double anniversary, the Humanist Association of Ottawa and Carleton University are sponsoring an essay contest.
Entries must be between 750 and 1500 words, and will be accepted in two categories by grade level: grade 9 or 10; and grade 11 or 12.

Essays should be based on one of the following topics/subtopics:

• Evolution and technology: evolutionary computing/genetic algorithms

• Evolution in biology: response of organisms to changes in their
environment, eg
- antibiotic and/or pesticide resistance
- impacts
of climate change

• A conversation with Charles Darwin: Imagine having a conversation with
Charles Darwin: What would you tell him? What would you ask him? What would he
say about the world today?

Prizes: A first and second prize will be awarded in each grade category
1st prize: A local fossil trilobite, provided by the Eastern Ontario Natural History Society, a $100 Gift Certificate from Chapters Books plus a Darwin Tree-of-Life Tshirt
2nd prize $25 Gift Certificate from Chapters Books plus a Darwin Tree-of-Life Tshirt

Prizes will be presented February 9, 2009 as part of the Darwin Week 2009 celebration at Carleton University

• Essays will be judged on scientific content, originality, and quality of writing
• Participation is open to residents of Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec
• Participants must be between 12 and 19 years of age as of 1 January, 2009
• Entries will not be returned to contestants
• The closing date of the contest is 30 January 2009; however there is a limit of 200 entries in each category, after which the contest will be closed
• The winner will be announced February 9, 2009 at Carleton; finalists will be notified by email a few days in advance.

• A copy of these rules, as well as links to information about Charles Darwin are available at
• Additional questions regarding this contest can be submitted by email to

• Entries must be submitted in PDF or Microsoft Word format, by email to
• Entries must be accompanied by the following information
- Full name of participant
- Age
- Grade
- School
- Email address
- Postal mail address
- Telephone number

The judges reserve the right to decline to award any prizes, if there are no suitable entries.