The world is home to microscopic organisms that not only keep  Earth’s inhabitants alive but also beautify the planet. Their appearance and application provide things such as wine and cheese, and they also contribute to the brilliant colors of peacock feathers and construction paper.

“Little plants and creatures play vital roles in helping our environment thrive, and we often take tiny organisms for granted. It’s amazing how truly intricate and beautiful our world is thanks to them,” Mallory Elver, annual giving and stewardship manager at WonderLab, said.

At the 15th annual Science Night Out gala, get a magnified look at science and the world while supporting WonderLab, Southern Indiana’s friendly, local science center. Explore tiny wonders during this elegant night of giving and learning on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Monroe Convention Center in Bloomington.

This year, WonderLab is thrilled to welcome two featured speakers: Roger Hangarter, renowned biologist, Emmy Award-winner and Distinguished Indiana University professor; as well Dr. Andrew Watters, M.D., honorary chair, emergency medical doctor with IU Health and volunteer for Doctors Without Borders.

Hangarter is passionate about photography and sharing the microscopic realm of science. By photographing the growing processes, development and metamorphosis of plants and animals through time-lapses, he creates a deeper understanding and connection to the previously unnoticed world. Hangarter’s Emmy-winning time-lapses are featured in 21 museums nationwide.

“Hangarter has an incredible ability to capture science through mesmerizing photography,” Elver said. “He proves that unbelievable insects live here, in our own backyards.”

Now in its 15th year, Science Night Out is WonderLab’s largest annual fundraising event, raising a net amount of over $70,000 each year and attracting over 300 attendees. The evening will include complimentary wine and beer, a cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, a plated dinner and dessert, silent and live auctions with Jimmie Dean Coffey, hands-on science activities and raffles. Attendees must be age 21 years of age or older.

Proceeds from Science Night Out support hands-on science and learning opportunities at WonderLab. According to Elver, a significant portion of the funding from Science Night Out will go to a WonderLab fund called the Connecting to the Community Fund. This fund subsidizes WonderLab’s reduced and free admission for families with low incomes. Connecting to the Community provides a financial backbone for WonderLab to be an educational resource where everyone can enjoy interactive science experiences.