By R. Gary Raham
People’s eyes grew big as they passed our table loaded with fossils from Colorado’s ancient seaway. That’s understandable. It’s exciting to see the coiled and sculpted shells of animals that lived in Colorado’s ancient oceans over 70 million years ago, well before the rise of the Rocky Mountains. This reporter on Saturday, April 14, helped represent the Western Interior Paleontological Society: a non-profit group of amateur fossil hunters that raises scholarship and grant money for students and researchers in paleontology.
Our organization was far from being alone in supporting scientists and their work. Our “Life through time” section shared space with organizations representing climate science, Earth, rivers, and oceans, ecology and wildlife conservation, astronomy, aerospace, and physics, biomedical sciences and health, technology and engineering, energy, and science in the community—the latter including science education.
The March for Science is committed to being non-partisan. Organizers state the policy this way: “While the Denver March for Science is explicitly political in its advocacy for peer reviewed evidence based policy, it is fully committed to its non-partisan stance. Science is a discipline that should not be beholden to any one party or ideology, but recognized as beneficial to all. As such, the March does not endorse any political party or candidate and urges our teach-in participants to do the same.” As one sign succinctly put it, “Just say know.”
Although the event was not quite as large as its first year in 2017, the crowd in Civic Center Park still numbered in the thousands. Attendees marched, heard inspiring talks, and visited those of us with specialties in all the various subdivisions of scientific research.
At our table, kids played fossil bingo and gaped at the replica of a ten-inch long Allosaurus finger. We eagerly described the original finger’s predatory owner, who could have easily gazed into their second story window, were she still alive today.
We expect—and hope—that our kid’s club may spike in attendance as a result. There’s a lot of wonderful things those children may be able to tell us tomorrow, if they are given the chance to experience and practice undiluted, fact-based science today.