Botany Live Wrap Up

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Published on: June 2, 2017

Fascination of Plants Day: Botany Live
In 2012 the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) started global ‘Fascination of Plants Day’, an event that aimed to raise the profile of plant science and plant scientists around the world. Since two initial consecutive years this has now switched to a biannual event that has been fully embraced by people who work in on all aspects of plant science. Details of this can be found at http://www.plantday.org/. In the UK the events were coordinated by Dr Dario Breitel at the John Innes Centre and featured events at around 30 venues around the country.


One of these events was entitled ‘Botany Live’ and was led by Anne Osterrieder who is a lecturer in Biology and Science Communication at Oxford Brookes University as well as being the editor of the Annals of Botany blog (https://aobblog.com/). The aim of this event was to use the accessible online streaming resource Periscope to bring plant science into peoples’ homes and workplaces. The organisers requested that people live-stream a ‘short peek’ into their lives as plant scientists.

Keith Edwards discusses Wheat Transformation

Over the weekend of FoPD (May 18th-21st) 32 events signed up to provide a Botany Live video. The majority of these were from the US and UK but also featured videos from Lebanon and Argentina! These videos are being uploaded to the Botany Live website (https://botany.live/events/) so you can go back and check out the action!
Botany Live kicked off on the evening on May 17th (UK time) with Marcela Karey Tello-Ruiz who is the coordinator of the Gramene project in New York. She live- streamed a ‘Plant Superpowers’ session in which she interacted with a group of primary school students to share the joy of amazing plants! https://www.pscp.tv/w/1yoJMBLXagDxQ

Official FoPD day, May 18th, also saw the majority of Botany Live events. These were kicked off by Alison Bentley providing an introduction to the NIAB Innovation Farm facility prior to the Wheat Transformation Facility Wrap up meeting (see also page 38 in this edition of GARNish). This video also featured Keith Edwards, Ben Sibbett and Sinead Drea discussing their wheat research projects (https://www.pscp.tv/w/1nAKEBqpYolGL).

Touring the Hounsfield Facility
Dr M goes Wild at the University of Reading!

Our event dovetailed nicely with a video from Craig Sturrock and colleagues at the University of Nottingham, who gave a tour of the Hounsfield CT scanning facility.

Throughout the (UK) afternoon there were a number of short videos from Kew Gardens that introduced some of the interesting plants that they have on site! A real video highlight was a very well choreographed livestream organized by Dr Jonathan Mitchley (aka Dr M) from the University of Reading in which he interacted with a group of school children, who gave their ‘plant highlights’.

The livestream action then crossed the pond, featuring a Q+A from the Brilliant Botany blogger Claire, a tour of the ABRC laboratory facilities at Ohio State University, as well as the greenhouse facilities at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Cornell. Later in the day, the livestream switched to focus on Argentinian Women Plant Scientists!


On Saturday May 20th researchers from the University of Glasgow featured in a really exciting set of videos from their FoPD celebration at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

Truly it was a mixed bag of events and was an excellent first attempt at using this type of media to promote plant science. Hopefully Botany Live will be repeated again with more people taking up the challenge of putting together an interesting video for the global community……and tackling the connectivity issues relies on WiFi or a good 3G signal!

Botany Live was kindly supported by the SEB, the Annals of Botany Company, Plantae, The Quiet Branches and Oxford Brookes University.



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