The day will feature plant-based activities for the whole family

For the fourth time, the European Plant Sciences Organisation (EPSO) is inviting the general public to take part in the 2017 International Fascination of Plants Day (FoPD) on May 18, 2017.

The aim of the FoPD is to encourage people around the world to celebrate the importance of plant science. Building on the success of previous years – botanic gardens, research labs, schools, museums and farmers will open their doors on 18 May 2017 with plant-based activities for the whole family. This will be backed up by a range of events in public spaces, theatres, cafes, central city squares and parks, designed to get everyone thinking about plants.

Plants are vital to our health and our environment – not only for sustainably producing food, but also in hidden ways such as the production of medicines, fuel, chemicals, paper and timber. Plant scientists want to share their enthusiasm with others and inspire people to think about plant science and conservation in new ways. Scientific institutions, universities, botanical gardens and museums are joining schools, companies and farmers to host a plethora of plant-based interactive events and activities for all to enjoy.

FoPD was started in 2012, and events were held in 2013 and 2015. Some 56 countries held events in 2015, with a total of 960 events organized by 560 institutions. At press time, more than 40 countries have signed up to participate in order to educate the public about the significance of plant science when it comes to social, environmental, and economic issues. Here are some of the key events happening as of press time.

Austria

  • HBLFA Raumberg in cooperation with the Naturschutzbund Styria will host a plant species diversity outing.
  • Open-air laboratory of the University of Graz will host a guided tour and have a presentation on wood.
  • The Austrian Horticultural Society (ÖGG) special exhibition has focused on the use of citrus fruits in the kitchen, pharmacies and the princely table.
  • The Higher Federal Institute of Horticulture and Research (HBLFA) Schönbrunn will be hosting guided tours.
  • The Department of Crop Science University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna will have an exhibition and presentation on Gregor Mendel.
  • On a guided tour at the Naturhotel Steinschalerhof, visitors will be treated to the extensive and multi-faceted Steinschaler nature gardens.
  • Guided tours will be held at the Wildobst and garden PIRC.
  • Scientists, together with interested visitors, explore the local fauna and flora that is found when visiting Garden Tullin.

Bolivia

  • The CIBIOMA-UABJB (Research Center on Biodiversity and Environment – Autonomous University of Beni José Ballivián) will be hosting an exhibition, guided tours and more.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • The Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is hosting a Best Plant Photo Contest for students.

Bulgaria

  • The AgroBioInstitute, Agricultural Academy will be open all day for various activities as well as guided tours. At the end of the day the winners of the various competitions approved by a vote on the event page on Facebook will be awarded.

Brazil

  • PUCRS – IMA prepared an exhibition of photos of some native plants in the area that are interesting in the most different aspects.

Finland

  • The University of Helsinki is hosting a video competition for students in Grades 7 – 9 with the theme of People and Plants.

France

  • The Center INRA of Versailles-Grignon will be explaining plant science to students.
  • Bayer SAS – Crop Science Division researchers will meet with high school students to discuss plant diseases and technologies.
  • The Institut National Polytechnique of Toulouse /National Institute of Agricultural Research will be hosting a perfume workshop, and making various presentations to students. A seminar will also be held, exploring the topic of plant chemistry and agro-refinery.

Germany

  • The main event will be taking place at the Julius Kühn institute in Braunschweig. The topic of discussion is the concept of culture plant against the background of the projects and actions and the elaboration of the importance of plant research.

Norway

  • Student plant sales will be held at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMB),
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), and the Department of Plant Sciences.
  • The University of Tromso – Arctic Botanical Gardens will be by presenting plants more or less in their national colors in the Garden.

Philippines

  • Organic Seed Production and Banking will be the main topic at the Department of Agriculture, Agricultural training Institute, College of Forestry and Natural Resources- Univ of the Phil. at Los Banos Laguna.

Portugal

  • The Institute of Contemporary History will have a presentation and a debate on the Namibia desert plant, Welwitschia mirabillis, taking place at the Gabriel Pereira Secondary School, Évora and intends to involve students from Grades 10 to 12.
  • Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto will open their doors to show scientific experiments displaying the path between obtaining molecules with therapeutic activity from plants and their use in medicine.
  • The University of Humanities and Technologies will hold a demonstration to show the use of plants with several antimicrobial extracts and compounds, which may result in new antibiotics used to combat antimicrobial resistance.
  • The Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology António Xavier New University of Lisbon Av. Da República will be open all day to allow guests to speak with researchers and learn about the projects the scientists are working on.
  • The University of Algarve will host an exhibition of plants that characterize the spaces of Serra and Sapal in the Algarve region.
  • Casa da Cerca – Contemporary Art Center, The Floor of the Arts – Botanical Garden will be hosting guided tours throughout the day as well as playing host to a garden supplies workshop.
  • Polytechnic Institute of Bragança is hosting an event that will be part of the production of more than 20,000 horticultural, aromatic and forest plants for distribution to the population by IPB students, in two public places of great movement of the city of Bragança, Praça da Sé and Eixo Atlântico Park.
  • Short lectures will be part of the events taking place at the Institute of Contemporary History – FCSH, Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon.
  • The ADCMoura – Association for the Development of the Municipality of Moura will be hosting guided tours.
  • Biocant Park – Cantanhede Technology Park will host an all day event, open to the public. Check your brochure distributed at the park.
  • Guided tours and interactive games will be held throughout the day at National Museum of Natural History and Science, University of Lisbon as well as the Tropical Botanical Garden, University of Lisbon.

Slovakia

  • An open day with demonstrations, tours, research, lectures and more will be held at National Agricultural And Food Center, Research Institute of Plant Production, National Agricultural and Food Centre, and the Research Institute of Plant Production.
  • State Forests of the Tatra National Park and State Forest of Tatra National Park will be hosting demonstrations and lectures.
  • The Secondary School of Forestry Banská Štiavnica will be hosting a guided walk.
  • A botanical excursion to the public for Hradová near Košice will be hosted by Department of Botany, Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of PJ Safarik in Kosice.
  • An open day will be held at the SPU Nitra Botanical Garden.
  • The Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra – Faculty of Natural Sciences , Department of Botany and Genetics will host an exhibition and a guided tour.
  • The Department of Plant Physiology and Department of Botany, Faculty of Natural Sciences in Bratislava will host a series of short lectures on Fascinated by the World of Plants.
  • There will be a competition in the manual of mowing grass, hosted by Slovak Association Kosecki, Velky Saris.
  • The Town Library Piestany, Slovak Považská Kosecki suite Kosecki Association and District Council of the Slovak Union of Gardeners Piestany will host an exhibition workshop introducing grass as an important part of nature.

Spain

  • Those who go to the APCA Association of Cerebral Palsy will be making a garden.
  • At the Center For Children Education Menuts, the families of the students and some farmers will be invited to plant different plants in the urban orchard.
  • A seminar will be held at the Institute Of Molecular Biology And IBMCP Plant Cell (Csic-Upv). A presentation will also be held and will address the teachers of the institute on the technique of genetic editing and its application to the improvement, followed by debate.
  • Guided tours will be held at Natur Gela – Nature Classroom of the Ramón Rubial de Barakaldo Botanical Garden.
  • The University of Leon will host a panel presentation, presentation of results of practical projects on resource management and ethnobotany, threatened species, invasive species, or species valuation and prioritization.

Sweden

  • The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and SPPS will be hosting a national short film competition for elementary school students. The theme of the competition is Humans and Plants – Why are plants fascinating and why do we humans depend on them?

Everybody is welcome to join this initiative! EPSO invite everyone to organize for the 18th of May 2017 a fascinating activity related to plants attracting and interacting with the public. Just contact your National Coordinator or email epso@epsomail.org to reach the EPSO Coordinators to discuss and access all supporting material for the Fascination of Plants Day. EPSO invites many others who would like to contribute to the Fascination of Plants Day to join in, ranging from schools to horticulture, research institutions to the media.

For more information, go to www.plantday.org for the updated listings in the various countries.

(Photos supplied by European Plant Science Organisation)

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