Date of release: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Discover the life-changing influence of plants at international open dayFrom feeding the world to the algae in your pond, visitors are invited to learn about plants during a day of science activities at the University of Greenwich.

'The Fascination of Plants' event celebrates flora from all around the world – including those found close to home – and all are invited to join in the fun at the university's Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, on Sunday 17 May.

Visitors will be able to see exhibits and take part in a range of plant-related science and art activities that will include fun for all ages, and appeal to both beginners and enthusiasts.

One of the organisers of the event, Dr Elinor Thompson, of the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, says: "The aim of this day is to encourage people to find out more about the plants in their lives, what we use them for and what effects they have on us. We'll also look at the global importance of plants – for instance, considering how we meet the challenge of producing 60 per cent more food for a predicted world population of 10 billion people in 2050."

Experts will be hosting a range of displays and activities to join in with, related to their work both nationally and around the world. These will include looking at what makes plants green, meeting some insect pests and pollinators and learning about crops grown across the world.

Dr Thompson adds: "The day will also include a focus on what is grown in Kent and what careers and training are available to people who would like to work in plants, with staff from Hadlow College and East Malling Research joining us.

"Events will be rounded off by a range of quizzes and raffles, freebies and snacks. We're certain there will be something for everyone."

Many plant and agricultural experts work at the University of Greenwich. These scientists are using and developing new ways to maximise food production globally and ensuring farmers can adapt to climate change. This includes an on-site biofuel development and basic research into how plants respond to stress and disease.

The Fascination of Plants Day will run from 11am-3pm on Sunday 17 May. It is organised as part of an international awareness campaign by The European Plant Science Organisation, which represents research institutes in 30 countries across three continents.

The open day – which coincides with the launch of the university's new Masters programme in Applied Plant Science – is free to attend. For further information call 01634 880088 or email science-queries@gre.ac.uk, with the subject line 'Fascination of Plants'.

See the university website or www.epsoweb.org to find out more, or search MSc Applied Plant Science on Facebook.

Story by Public Relations