May 18, 2012: The First International Fascination of Plants Day
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.
On May 18th, the John Innes Centre will open its doors to hundreds of local schoolchildren who will take part in a range of plant based activities. The Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, will talk about his own fascination with plants and lots of other local organisations will be joining in.
On the previous evening (May 17th), the John Innes Centre is hosting an evening with plant scientists, where four of its leading researchers will talk about their careers in plant science with the BBC’s Richard Hollingham. There will also be a chance for the public to quiz the scientists on the latest pioneering research, as well as look through some of the rare book collection that beautifully depicts the fascination of plants through the centuries.
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.
Dee Rawsthorne, Outreach coordinator at the John Innes Centre said “The 18th May 2012 will be a celebration of plants and their role in our lives from the air we breathe to the food we eat and clothes we wear, not forgetting their beauty and the pleasure they give many in our gardens, parks and countryside.”
“The day was born out of a need to encourage more children to study plants and work in agriculture, fundamental research, biodiversity, environmental conservation, plant protection and renewable resources. However, it has rapidly emerged into a day to marvel at the wonder of plant life.”
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.”
A full list of UK activities and partners is available at http://www.plantday12.eu/uk.htm
Contacts: Dee Rawsthorne, UK National Coordinator for Fascination of Plants Day 01603 251457, firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Chapple, Press Officer, John Innes Centre 01603 251490, email@example.com
Dee Rawsthorne, UK National Coordinator for Fascination of Plants Day
01603 251457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Chapple, Press Officer, John Innes Centre
01603 251490, email@example.com
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.
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.