The First International Fascination of Plants Day - May 18th 2012

14th May 2012

Imagine a world without plants. We rely on them for everything, yet plants are often overlooked. Now, thousands of plant scientists, botanists, farmers and gardeners from all over the world are coming together to share their Fascination of Plants.

On Friday May 18th the importance of having plants on our planet will be in the spotlight worldwide. The first International Fascination of Plants Day, launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organization (EPSO, Brussels), is bringing together more than 450 institutions in 39 countries to celebrate the role of plant science in the social, environmental and economic landscape now and into the future.

In the UK alone over 80 universities, institutes, botanic gardens, and other organizations are holding public events and activities in appreciation of how plants shape our world and everything in it.

Tim Smit KBE, Chief Executive of The Eden Project said “The problem with plants is that they don't sing or dance and in an age of low concentration levels and great background noise it would be easy to think of them as the green canvas against which we lead our lives - an accessory.”

“Without plants there is no significant life on earth - other than microbes. From the air that we breathe to the water and food that sustain us, we owe it all to plants.”

Fascination of Plants events are happening all over the country. From the space age Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre to the ancient Stonehenge landscape, events will explore how we share our planet with plants. Universities, plant research institutes and botanic gardens will open their doors to let the public explore basic plant science, agricultural research, environmental conservation, biodiversity, education and arts.

Tim Smit commented, "I am proud to support this programme because it is essential (and I don't use this word lightly), that we inspire respect and awe in plants and excite the spirit of enquiry into as many people as possible so that they may become growers and farmers, scientists and artists as well as engineers and architects who learn from natural form and the weight of millennia of adaptation to a planet on which we are relatively new arrivals."

The public, journalists and the media are invited to attend press conferences, to explore laboratories, visit greenhouses, field sites, museums, and other exhibitions. People will have the opportunity to talk with plant scientists and discuss basic and applied research in plant biology.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden will explore the power of plants to provide food, drugs, energy and more. Cardiff University are providing tours around their plant science labs and hosting talks, debates and exhibitions. There will be unusual edible plants in London’s Finsbury Park with a chance to pick your own, whilst the stunning Kibble Palace of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens will have experiments for children and interactive exhibitions. There will be a chance to visit Thanet Earth, the largest glasshouse complex in the UK. The John Innes Centre is hosting an evening with plant scientists, and hosting over 500 local schoolchildren.

A full list of UK activities and partners is available at http://www.plantday12.eu/uk.htm

Up to date information about the Fascination of Plants Day can be accessed via www.plantday12.eu. Material for the media and press (pictures, logos, etc.) is freely available in the PR-toolbox via http://www.plantday12.eu/pr-toolbox.htm.

Contact for questions and further information:

Dr. Jan-Wolfhard Kellmann, Master Coordinator Fascination of Plants Day 2012,

+49 3641 57 1000, jkellmann@ice.mpg.de

Dr. Karin Metzlaff, CEO European Plant Science Organization,

+32 2 213 6264, karin.metzlaff@epsomail.org

National contact in UK:

Dee Rawsthorne, UK National Coordinator for Fascination of Plants Day

01603 251457, dee.rawsthorne@nbi.ac.uk

Andrew Chapple, Press Officer, John Innes Centre

01603 251490, andrew.chapple@nbi.ac.uk

Material for the press and media is freely available at http://www.plantday12.eu/pr-toolbox.htm

 

Mission and Background of the Fascination of Plants Day

The coordinated activity of the Fascination of Plants Day will plant virtual and constantly germinating seeds in the collective mind of the European and World Public recalling that plant science is of critical significance to the social, environmental and economic landscape now and into the future. Plants are unique organisms. They can produce sugars just from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. This ability to directly synthesize their own food has enabled plants to successfully colonize, adapt to, and diversify within almost every niche on the planet and biologists estimate the total number of plant species to be about 250000. These abilities make plants the primary producers of biomass providing animals and mankind with food, feed, paper, medicine, chemicals, energy, and an enjoyable landscape.

 

 

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