Fascination of Plants Day
PRI members Hannah Peplinski, Weijia Wang, and Miranda Haus from the Buell and Cichy labs translated recent PRI-funded work to the general public during the ASPB sponsored Fascination of Plants day at Michigan State University. The project “Where the Wild Things Are, Were, and Will Be” focused on how domestication by early plant breeders has altered the crops utilized today and emphasized how today’s plant breeders need to prepare cultivated lines for the changing climate. We engaged adults by discussing what are the greatest threats to crop production, how breeders need creativity to improve crop traits, and what they can do to help global food security. The activity also provided the opportunity for youth to model and create an “advanced” version of their own favorite fruit or vegetable utilizing their creativity and viewing themselves as future plant breeders to improve global food security.
- Demonstrations of wild, intermediate, or domesticated species of strawberry (Edger), teff (VanBuren), corn (Thompson), and bean (Cichy/Buell). When available, some plants were also grown under drought and heat stress to mimic future crop productivity.
- Art in craft supplies in which children were asked to design, build, or draw how they would make their favorite food better.
- Matching game in which kids and adults pair wild plants with their domestication varieties.
- Pamphlets and a poster with information on domestication, climate change, and
- what you can do to help.