The world celebrated Fascination of Plants Day for the first time in 39 countries on 18 May 2012. The day was organised by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) to promote the importance of plants and plant science worldwide.
Australian events included a tour of the Aboriginal Garden at Monash University, plant experiments in the Q-lab at Questacon, a public lecture by Julian Cribb on global food security at the University of Queensland, and an online video competition. For a full list of events and a few photos see the Fascination of Plants Day website.
Radio interviews brought Fascination of Plants Day to Australians that couldn’t attend live events. ABC Brisbane interviewed Dr Paul Scott from the University of Queensland about why plants are so important in our daily lives. He went on to describe his research in developing biofuels from tree legumes.
In SA, year 11 student Kathryn Law sang her song Plants are Fascinating on ABC Rural’s SA Country Hour. Her song was the winning senior entry in the Fascination of Plants Day Video Competition run by the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics. It was an adaptation of a pop song with original plant science lyrics including, “The leaves sunlight doesn’t miss, Will have photosynthesis, I wasn’t looking for this!”
The winning student in the junior category used an emotional Beethoven soundtrack for his video showing how he imagines a world without plants. His food and furniture disappeared, and the trees outside faded to black and white before vanishing. It was a poignant reminder of how important plant products are in our everyday lives.
These winners were selected from about 40 entries in the Fascination of Plants Day Video Competition. You can watch the videos at the videos tab of the competition website.
Dr Monica Ogierman, the event co-ordinator, spoke at the Plant Biology Conference in Freiburg about Australia’s involvement in this event.
Fascination of Plants Day will be run again in 2013, and we hope it will be an even bigger and better event.