THIS year the people of North Devon will be among thousands helping to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. A range of events will be taking place, to mark Darwin s birthday on February 12 and then continuing through the year, which

THIS year the people of North Devon will be among thousands helping to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. A range of events will be taking place, to mark Darwin's birthday on February 12 and then continuing through the year, which also includes the 150th anniversary of his revolutionary book on the evolution of species.On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was ridiculed and scorned when it was published, but for most now forms the basis of modern biology.Devon Museum Service is in the process of putting together a leaflet detailing the many displays, workshops and activities taking place throughout the county this year.At Ilfracombe Museum there is a seaweed workshop with artists Peter Stiles on February 21, then on March 5 there is a film at the museum about the life of Philip Gosse, "creationist" and contemporary of Darwin, much opposed to his theory on evolution.At Barnstaple Museum from March 14 there is an exhibition of work by Peter Stiles entitled Vivarium, based on Darwin, Gosse, George Eliot, seaweed and the Ilfracombe coast. More events will be held during and after the North Devon Festival period.Devon Museums have also secured funding to create a set of discovery boxes to tour the county, including natural history specimens and information on how 19th century collectors (including some in Devon) helped shape evolutionary theory."If anyone would like to organise a talk, walk or other event relating to Darwin, biodiversity, or evolution we are happy to consider including it in the Darwin in Devon leaflet," said Alison Mills at Barnstaple Museum."If you would like to borrow the Darwin discovery boxes for your own event, let us know. "And if you have any ideas at all, please contact me at the museum, as it would be great to get as much activity as possible going on for this important celebration."The deadline for leaflet copy is today (Wednesday). The museum can be contacted on (01271) 346747. Deadline for inclusion within the leaflet is this Saturday, January 24.