Archive for the ‘Darwin’ Category

Royal Mail Teacher’s Post

September 29, 2010

Sandie Robb appears in the Autumn issue of Royal Mail’s Teacher’s Post magazine featuring the Darwin 200 book.

You can download a pdf version of the magazine at:

http://www.teacherspost.co.uk/

Teachers can contact Royal Mail direct for free copies of the book while stocks last.

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Wallace – the alternative Darwin – gets a postage stamp or two at last!!

July 25, 2010

George Beccaloni left a very excited message on the Alfred Russel Wallace website  about the 2009 issue by Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (in Africa) of Wallace stamps – at last!

You might have read earlier Sandie’s jubilant blog entry about the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society postage stamps from the Royal Mail featuring Wallace  http://http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-350th-anniversary-stamps/ 

Interesting to compare the two different designs!

The centenary of Wallace’s death in 1913 is due soon in 2013 and the Wallace Fund website blog has more details about how this is being marked around the world. There is also a short biography of this amazing man and many links.

These very Darwin style portrait and dinosaur stamps compare well with some of the Darwin 200 and other anniversary issues shown in our Charles Darwin: A Life In Stamps book, published in 2009. Copies are still available to schools (free) and collectors (small charge, see earlier blog).  The stamps should,  as George notes,   appeal to dinosaur stamp collectors as much as Darwin realted stamp collectors.  

 http://wallacefund.info/first-ever-postage-stamps-featuring-alfred-russel-wallace-are-published

His book The Malay Archipeligo has never been out of print since its publication, much like Darwin’s Voyage of The Beagle, another classic of  Victorian travel writing.

Wallace’s travels took him across Indonesia including to Papua New Guinea where our Black Tree Monitors are from and Sulawesi, an Indonesian island,  home to Sulawesi Macaque monkeys that are now critically endangered – you can see our group at Newquay Zoo through our webcam http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/conservation/sulawesi-crested-black-macaques.htm, part of our support for Selamatkan Yaki (Protect The Macaque! in Bahasan Indonesian).

We’ll keep you posted on celebartions for Wallace 2013, Darwin 2011 and Edward Lear 2012 on the blog – watch this space.

Artistic Scrapbooking Stamp Pages

July 14, 2010

I made a scrapbook all about Madagascar and used photos, stamps, and other materials to make up the pages.

Look how I have used the tails of the ring tailed lemur in the following example:

Try your own designs.

About Madagascar and how it came to have unique animals not found anywhere else –

The reason is because of evolution by natural selection. When Madagascar became separated from Africa, the island conditions were very different from the mainland. The animals and plants evolved according to their new circumstances and became new species over millions of years. And because Madagascar is an island the new species are not found anywhere else.

Sandie Robb, RZSS

Artistic Pages

July 14, 2010

Well if you have been collecting stamps, what do you do with them and how do you display them?

There are plenty of traditional stamp albums and stamp pages. Look on any good stamp collecting site to learn about what is available and how to use stamp hinges or stamp mounts to protect your mint stamps – stamps that have not been postmarked. Try www.planetstamp.co.uk

But I like to display my stamps in a more artistic way. I also like scrapbooking – there are lots of sites about crafts and scrapbooking too. I sometimes mix my stamps with other related material such as photos, magazine/newspaper cut-outs, actual bits and pieces etc.

Here are examples of some evolution related pages:

Minerals and Fossils has actual pieces of pyrite, amethyst, agate, corals and sharks teeth on the page!

In ‘Posting with Dinosaurs’ I used an old stamp magazine and cut out part of the article then added the real stamps.

Sandie Robb, RZSS

Centenary of Florence Nightingale’s Death 13 August 2010: update of ‘Florence Fatigue’ and another Great Victorian on postage stamps: Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and women scientists on stamps.

May 16, 2010

A 1960s UK stamp featuring Florence Nightingale from my childhood album (in old L-S-D pennies) with a youthful Queen Elizabeth head, much like the Young Victoria!

This Friday 13th sees the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s death on 13 August 1910. Commemorated in many ways  through a Royal Mint £2 coin, a church service on Radio 4  Sunday morning 8th August  2010 (available on I-player) and much press coverage about anniversary events http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2010/07/09/55064/florence-nightingale-centenary-nursing-by-numbers.html 

along with her refurbished museum http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/cms/

Visitors to the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, where part of Wind in The Willows was written by Kenneth Grahame, can see Florence Nightingale’s signature in the visitor’s book of what was a very popular Victorian hotel for travellers overseas via  the busy Falmouth harbour. http://www.greenbank-hotel.co.uk/falmouth-hotel/14/falmouth+hotel+history.html 

Readers of our Darwin 200 stamp blog will note that much of our Darwin celebrations locally in Cornwall in 2009 focussed on Falmouth, where Darwin made landfall on Oct 2 1836 at the end of the Beagle voyage. A plaque, rather then register entry,  marks the spot as he rapidly left for home by mail coach after five homesick and seasick adventurous years. Darwin and Nightingale in their dogged pursuit of evidence or statistics to support their arguments would have had no doubt a very interesting discussion, had they ever met!  

 Her obituary can be found at http://century.guardian.co.uk/1910-1919/Story/0,,126410,00.html  and an interesting research blog at http://www.florence-nightingale-avenging-angel.co.uk/

Previous Entry May 2010:

Every 12 May around the world is International Nursing Day, baacuse it is also Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Happy 190th birthday Florence.  

This year has extra significance, amazingly it is only 100 years since Florence Nightingale  died on 13 August 2010.

Florence was one of that generation of long-lived famous Victorians who lived well into the Twentieth Century including Alfred Russel Wallace the explorer and evolutionary theorist who died in 1913. Wallace has been mentioned on this blog site with news that you may soon see him on a UK stamp.

One of our recent commenters on the blog asked why we didn’t mention Rosalind Franklin ‘the dark lady of DNA’ when we introduced DNA, Crick and Watson. A trawl through internet stamp sites and Stanley Gibbons catalogues will produce some images of women scientists and engineers who aren’t Marie Curie. (Personally I look forward to a portrait stamp of Hedy Lamarr, featuring a background print of her World War Two patent for torpedo switching gear).

 Not surprisingly the Royal Mail, mints  and postage stamp designers ariound the world have often honoured nurses, Florence Nightingale and occasionally her contemporary Mary Seacole  often over the last 100 years.

http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/rcn_archives/exhibitions/international_postage_stamps/florence_nightingale

http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/rcn_archives/exhibitions/international_postage_stamps/mary_jane_seacole  

2009/10 also marks the 150th anniversary of  her important book Notes on Nursing, based on her experiences in The Crimean War. www.royalmint.com/store/BritishBase/UKFNBU.aspx.  Just as revolutionary in its time and field as Darwin’s Origin of Species, the International College of Nursing ICN  modern edition of Notes on Nursing is still available 150 years later!

As a scientist, Florence is also famous for using Pie charts to present information in persuasive ways, useful for introducing maths to the history curriculum and the ever present role model search for women scientists.

Some primary teachers I know do groan at the name Florence Nightingale as this is currently the examplar famous Victorian person in the current National Curriculum (England and Wales) and some hope the new one due in  2011 is Florence free. http://http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/schemes2/history/his4/?view=get 

Talking to collegues and stall holders at a history teaching conference including the TTS people who have a Florence section http://www.tts-group.co.uk/, some teachers  after many years of teaching Florence were showing signs of ‘Florence Fatigue’. This will hopefully never become a recognisable medical condition.

Examples of creating famous person / Florence Nightingale displays (timelines!) using postage stamps can be seen at: http://fnif.org/,  showing pictures of  the story of Florence Nightingale as an exhibition of stamps at the ICN Congress in Durban by Marilyn Gendek, an Australian nurse and philatelist. 

Country Joe’s site covers statues and other memorails, good for looking at evidence of Victorians in our towns and local areas such as suggested on our Victorian Time safari blog entries last year: http://www.countryjoe.com/nightingale/honors.htm   

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~cwfn/stamps/index.html  

http://www.sma.org.sg/smj/4703/4703ms1.pdf   

is a comprehensive six page long pdf article on Florence Nightingale in stamps.

The Crimean War was marked 150 years on by a recent Royal Mail issue four or five years ago – see the Royal Mail website.   Local regimental museums and the National Army Museum at Chelsea are also good sources for information on this conflict.

There is lots of biographical information on Florence ranging from the BBC, Victorian Web and Wikipedia to the Florence Nightingale Museum

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~cwfn/    her collected works and writings

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crimea/florrie.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/nightingale_florence.shtml

Brilliant Britain – a new competition

April 27, 2010

Stamp Active Network are pleased to announce a new competition based on the fact that British stamps tell us a lot about Great Britain e.g. its history, its culture, its geography, its people, its plants and its animals.

Young people in Primary School, up to the age of 12 (on 1st September 2010), are invited to create a one page mini-exhibit about some aspect of Britain. Only stamps, covers and other philatelic items from Great Britain can be used. The page must have a title, and either captions or a short write up that tells the story. The entrant’s full name and address (home or school) should be on the back of the page, also their age on 1st September 2010. Entries should be on good quality paper (A4) or a similar size album page, and placed in a clear protector. The entries can be either hand-written or prepared using a computer.

There will be three age groups – Up to 7; 8-9; 10-12 – with prizes being awarded (for First, Second, Third and Runners up) in each age group.

The entries will be judged on knowledge of the subject, originality and presentation.

Only one entry per person is allowed. UK entrants only.

Winners will be announced in the philatelic press and on the Stamp Active Website www.planetstamp.co.uk. The best entries will be on display at Autumn Stampex 15th – 18th September at the Business and Design Centre, London.

The deadline for receiving entries will be 1st September 2010.

Send entries to: BRILLIANT BRITAIN Competition, Stamp Active Network, 3 Longfellow Road, Banbury, OX16 9LB

Charles Darwin, Evolution, Conservation, Biodiversity would all make wonderful themes for an entry and there are many British stamps which have been issued over the years which would be suitable for such. It’s just one page – why not have a go?

Alfred Russel Wallace on a stamp

April 17, 2010

On 25th February 2010, Royal Mail issued a set of stamps to mark the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.

“The issue featured ten of the prominent Fellows who have helped us better to understand the world and the universe through observation and experimentation. “

The stamps have a split design with a portrait of the person and an image of their achievement.

For evolution, they featured Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace independently came up with the theory of evolution by natural selection. He had become interested in nature and collected specimens as did Darwin. Wallace, however was poor and self taught. He unfortunately lost all his scientific specimens from South America because the ship was sunk. He didn’t mind Darwin got most of the credit for their theory. He felt that Darwin really deserved it more because of the work Darwin had done and it was Darwin who presented all the evidence to support the theory.

I believe this is the first time Wallace has appeared on a stamp and rightfully deserves the credit. (Sandie Robb)

http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-350th-anniversary-stamps/

New UK mammal biodiversity stamps launched!

April 15, 2010

Hopefully you have all seen the news release about Royal Mail’s new UK Biodiversity stamps (and you’ll see them on your post). Surely Charles Darwin as a backyard biologist would approve, especailly in 2010 Year of Biodiversity,  of the beautiful new photographic stamps about rare British mammals. You can see them on the Royal mail website or at the execllent zoo blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com:80/2010/04/mammal-stamps-in-uk.html 

Stephen Woollard and Sandie Robb at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo commented: “We are particularly pleased to see the Scottish wildcat as one of the featured animals and the launch of this stamp took place at our RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, as we are one of the partners of the Cairngorm Wildcat Project.”

See these links: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8617325.stm

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8616599.stm

 http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=118600813&mediaId=119300768

If only Darwin had known about … DNA and Gregor Mendel.

February 28, 2010

Royal Mail's Millennium stamp issue featured this striking DNA stamp.

If only Darwin had known about … DNA.

A useful website for teachers is a daily email from History.com 
THIS DAY IN HISTORY http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history 
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February 28: General Interest
1953 : Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA–short for deoxyribonucleic acid–was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn’t demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game.

 On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.

In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that “we had found the secret of life.” The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science–how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Watson and Crick’s solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals.

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson’s book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery.

When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.

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Gregor Mendel and his famous smooth and wrinkled pea plant experiments on inheritance are commemorated on this German stamp. If only Darwin and he had met ...

And if only Darwin had met or read properly the work of Gregor Mendel

Charles Darwin and 2010 International Year of Biodiversity

February 18, 2010

Darwin's microscope (still to be seen at Down House) used on the Beagle around the world and to look at backyard biodiversity from his back garden and the Sand walk, Falklands commemorative stamp 1982.

Following on from 2009’s Charles Darwin’s bicentenary Darwin 200, this year has been dubbed 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. You can find out more about IYBD at www.biodiversityislife.net – stamp issues in Britain and around the world will mark the event. It also coincides with British Association’s National Science and Engineering Week events from 12 to 21 March 2010 www.nsew.org.uk . Both websites have good event listings and lots of teaching ideas and resources. Many IYBD events are planned in zoos and other venues across the UK. There is encouragement for backyard biologists or biodiversity Our Darwin stamp book partners RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are very busy with events  as well as hosting the IUCN secretariat www.iucn.org. IUCN the International Union for Conservation of Nature prepare the IUCN Red Data List www.iucnredlist.org of how rare some of the species that Darwin saw on his Voyage of the Beagle have become .

Darwin’s work on coral reefs, islands and how animals become specialised, adapted  and eventaully become separate species on islands are very important today for conserving and protecting biodiversity hotspots like the Philippines.

HMS Beagle and Darwin's work on coral reef islands celebrated in this fabulous First Day Cover, 1981 Cocos And Keeling Island stamps

Our Philippines Trail at the zoo is mentioned on the IYBD and  half term  and National Science Week activities.  We have used many Philippines stamps from the zoo and personal collections to illustrate more about these amazing islands. Stamps show the flags, cultural dances, history, produce and wildlife. Two of the most beautiful stamp sets used are WWF stamps of our Warty pigs  (Red Data List Wild status: Critically endangered) and Philippine Spotted deer (Red Data List Wild status: Endangered)

WWF Filipinas Philippines stamps showing the rarest pigs in the world (Visayan Warty pig) and rarest deer (Philippine Spotted deer) in the world, here at Newquay Zoo as part of a conservation breeding programme between the Philippines, zoos and other organisations around the world.

Endangered Mammals stamps

13 April 2010  The Royal Mail will issue a special edition of stamps for 2010 Year of Biodiversity. The latest set in the Action for Species series shows images of mammals and will feature 10 UK endangered species for which conservation action plans are in place. Look on the Royal Mail website in the next few weeks for pictures of these beautiful new stamps – some more backyard biodiversity. 

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/jump1?catId=32200669&mediaId=32300674

More projects like this can be found at wild about gardening, the new website www.wildaboutgardens.org