Plants Move. Plants Matter. Thousands join the Plant Movement at the 2016 USA Science & Engineering Festival

ASPB joined with the US Botanic Garden (USBG) to collaborate with the Botanical Society of America (BSA), Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Society of Economic Botany and Rutgers University in order to organize a 5-part, 600 square foot exhibit at the April 15-17, 2016 USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF). Over 365,000 people attended the festival!

Our  Plants Move. Plants Matter. Join the Plant Movement! exhibit was set amid major players like Lockheed Martin, Chevron, NASA, and Sea World plus They Might Be Giants shows. The plants attracted literally thousands of visitors eager to explore the critical functions of LEAVES, ROOTS, STEMS, FLOWERS, and SEEDS. Visitors engaged with hands-on explorations and booth staff to gain a clearer understanding of the importance of plant science and its active connection to everyday life and to a sustainable future.

The energy and expertise of many staff and volunteers from each organization made the Plant Movement possible. Here are a few of their insights:

  • It was so much fun to meet fellow plant-lovers and help spread the word about plants – and especially important to highlight the importance of plants and nature when the fair is so dominated by (very cool) technology!
  • I was amazed on how curious the visitors were about plants and how eager they were to learn about them.
  • I had the opportunity to explain some activities in Spanish. This mom was with four children, two of herself. I asked them if they wanted me to talk about plants in Spanish, and the only boy and oldest said “ Yes, so my mom can understand”!
  • The teenagers were also amazing, they were so patient with the explanations.
  • The family groups were absolutely adorable. I was so proud of the parents that make the effort to bring their children to this event, and how much they enjoyed their kids, or themselves, doing activities.

During USASEF the Plant Movement team piloted several new hands-on explorations. Each collaborating partner developed activities which all combined to create a substantial ‘plant presence’ at USASEF. Each activity also can work as an independent exploration. Five  activities and related materials will be added to USBG programming as well as shared by the other collaborators at science festivals and other hands-on educational settings across the country. Activities included:

  • Venus Fly Trap Model and Leaf Adaptations Fortune Teller Game (BSA)
  • Root Tip Cross Section Model and Global Root Race Game (Danforth)
  • Xylem Structure Cross Sections with Microscope and Propagation/Grafting Activities (ASPB)
  • Seed Dissection + Mini Model Cotyledon Clips (ASPB)
  • Flowers Attract Pollinators  and Nectar Fluorescence Activities (ASPB)

May 13 UPDATE from USASEF Organizers:

Please see the detailed Sponsor Report that includes a full Festival recap, including attendee demographic information, media outreach and other program highlights. Included in this report is a special media addendum, that illustrates just how far and wide the 2016 Festival reached – 5 BILLION potential impressions, including a reach of 200 million people during the month of the Festival with the #SciFest hashtag alone!

We have already received hundreds of emails from attendees and exhibitors who are eagerly anticipating the announcement of the next Festival, and we are gearing up for the next Expo to take place in the Spring of 2018, with additional school programming throughout the 2017/18 school years.

1 thought on “Plants Move. Plants Matter. Thousands join the Plant Movement at the 2016 USA Science & Engineering Festival”

  1. Looks like it was really fun filled day. I especially liked the Venus-fly trap and Root models. I was wondering if somebody made a video of Venus-fly trap in action!!!

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