Charles Darwin at the Ashland Library

Come celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday with Charles Darwin himself. On Thursday February 12 from 12:30-1:30 at the Ashland Library, local poet, writer and evolutionary biologist Pepper Trail will present a performance in the character of the English naturalist whose ideas on evolution and natural selection changed the way people viewed themselves and the world around them. In his performance “Voyage to the Origin of the Species: Reminiscences of Charles Darwin,” Trail dresses and speaks as Darwin, bringing history to life as he draws heavily on Darwin’s own writings, which, in addition to their scientific value, are rich and lyrical.

I can’t say enough good things about Pepper Trail. He is a gifted and thoughtful poet, whose direct, concrete work celebrates the wilderness and calls for us to take responsibility in our environment. His decades-long fascination with and understanding of Darwin’s life has shaped his performance as he channels Darwin, recounting how a country childhood, a life-changing sea voyage and a vibrant circle of friends and colleagues led him to the insights that revolutionized our understanding of the world.

Trail is wicked smart and holds a doctorate in evolutionary biology and ornithology from Cornell University. He is an ornithologist at the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland. Primary sources for his talk are Darwin’s own writings and the authoritative two-volume biography of Darwin by Janet Browne.

The Ashland public Library is located at 410 Siskiyou Blvd., in Ashland. For more information call the library at (541) 774-6996.

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