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MSU hosts second Fascination of Plants Day

Michigan State University plant biologists hosted the second Fascination of Plants Day on Saturday, May 19th at the Molecular Plant Sciences Building on main campus.

The event invited the general public to explore the world of plants and algae, including fun hands-on activities for kids and adults. Around 50 volunteers – grad students, post-docs and faculty – from various departments in the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources led the demonstrations.

“We proposed general themes of interest, from the germination of seeds to the production of specialized metabolites and their uses, to cover broadly what plant science research is about,” said Anne-Sophie Bohrer-Cognon. Anne-Sophie, a post-doc in the BMB Department at MSU, was the event coordinator.

"From there, the volunteers came up with ideas to illustrate each theme and developed fun hands-on activities and visuals to explain in simple ways what the science was about.”

The event drew 200 participants, double the number of attendees last year.

toddler and DNA extraction
Toddler enjoying extracting DNA from strawberries

“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,” Anne-Sophie added.

The organizing team is looking to build on the success of the event to continue growing it over the upcoming years.

The Fascination of Plants Day is a world-wide event taking place under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). The goal 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) pharmaceuticals, and environmental conservation.

The organizing committee included Anne-Sophie, in addition to Dr. Bjoern Hamberger and Aparajita Banerjee, also a BMB post-doc, who was the volunteer coordinator.