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PRL and MSU scientists invited the general public to explore the world of plants and algae, including fun hands-on activities for kids and adults.

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The postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University reflects on coordinating MSU's first Fascination of Plants Day.

MSU hosts first ever Fascination of Plants Day

Presenters in the MPS building
Presenters, gearing up in the MPS Building. By Anne-Sophie Bohrer

Michigan State University plant biologists hosted the first ever Fascination of Plants Day on Saturday, May 20th at the Molecular Plant Sciences Building on main campus.

The event, called From Seed to Fruit”, invited the general public to explore the world of plants and algae, including fun hands-on activities for kids and adults.

The idea first came from Dr. Bjoern Hamberger, who had participated in a previous edition at his former lab in Copenhagen. Anne-Sophie Bohrer-Cognon, a post-doc in BMB, quickly joined as the event coordinator, alongside Aparajita Banerjee, also a BMB post-doc, who was the volunteer coordinator.

“We rapidly came up with the general themes to present, from the germination of seeds to the production of specialized metabolites and their uses,” Anne-Sophie said.

“After that, 30 volunteers – grad students, post-docs and faculty – from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Plant Biology, Horticulture, and Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences units joined us. The activities and the plant-related science they presented at the event were incredible!”

Visitors at the booths
Around 100 visitors attended, from various ages and backgrounds. By Bjoern Hamberger

“The kids had a lot of fun extracting DNA from fruits and simulating the dispersion of fungal spores while the adults could really take time to discuss and learn more about the plant-related research we have here at MSU.”

“As a post-doc, I really enjoy the opportunities to do public outreach. I believe that it is our responsibility as researchers to communicate with the public about what we do, how we do it, and, most importantly, the importance and the diversity of plant research.”

“Seeing how successful the event was this year, I really hope that the Fascination of Plants Day will become a recurring event at MSU.”

Visitors at the terpene station
At the terpene station. By Bjoern Hamberger

“From Seed to Fruit” took place alongside hundreds of events in over 50 countries, under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).

The goal of “Fascination of Plants Day” is to get as many people as possible around the world enthused about the importance of plant sciences for agriculture, forestry, non-food products (paper, timber, chemicals, and energy) and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environmental conservation is also a key message.

Check out some more images from the event:

A booth
By Peiyen Kuo
Booths in the MPS Atrium
By Aparajita Banarjee
A booth
By Aparajita Banarjee

The organizers want to thank the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the College of Natural Sciences, the MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab, the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program and the Department of Plant Biology for their financial support.

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