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Today botanic gardens, research labs, schools, museums and farms are opening their doors to the public for plant science activities. More than 30 free events across England, Scotland and Wales are celebrating the essential role that plants play in our lives, on the third Fascination of Plants Day.

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Events include: an interactive talk on carnivorous plants at London’s Natural History Museum; a debate about how plants will help us feed the world’s growing population at Cambridge University’s Sainsbury Laboratory; a ‘build your own plant’ workshop at the University of Dundee Botanic Garden; and extracting DNA from strawberries in Dyffryn Gardens with scientists from Cardiff University.

Fascination of Plants Day was launched by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) in 2012 to encourage people around the world to celebrate the importance of plants in our lives and landscapes. It is coordinated in the UK by the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF), a Special Interest Group of the Society of Biology.

Anthea McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, said:
“Plants are so fundamental to life on earth. Whether for food, medicines, biofuels, enriching the air we breathe with oxygen, or inspiring us with their beauty and grandeur, plants are at the root of human life. We must increase our understanding of plants if we are to meet the challenges facing society, including limiting the impacts of climate change, and providing food security for a world with a population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050.

"On Fascination of Plants Day 2015, I encourage everyone to join us in celebrating and learning more about the invaluable role of plants.”

Dr Mimi Tanimoto MSB, executive officer of the UK Plant Sciences Federation (UKPSF), said:
“We want to share the amazing world of plants with a wider audience, and engage in discussions about how plant sciences are helping to address global challenges - from food security to protecting biodiversity. We hope that Fascination of Plants Day will inspire this and the next generation to appreciate the importance of plants and to understand the relationship between the world of diverse plant life and a healthy population.”

Professor Jackie Hunter, chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRSC), said:
“As the UK’s major plant science funder, BBSRC knows that plants are vital to our future. As we continue to learn more about them, we are making new discoveries that will help to provide sustainable sources of food and fuel for a growing population, as well as medicines for our health and useful chemicals for industry to boost economic growth. Plants are also important socially and culturally and we must do all that we can to protect them. Fascination of Plants Day provides an opportunity for more people to discover the wonders of plants and the benefits that they offer us all.”

There are at least 30 events taking place across in the UK, and many more across 61 countries between 3rd - 31st May, in celebration of international Fascination of Plants Day.

Fascination of Plants Day covers all plant related topics including basic plant science, agriculture, horticulture, gardening, forestry, plant breeding, plant protection, food & nutrition, environmental conservation, climate change mitigation, smart bioproducts, biodiversity, sustainability, renewable resources, plant science education & art.

An up to date list of activities and events running throughout the UK can be found on the Fascination of Plants Day UK homepage.

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