The USDA ARS Corvallis, Oregon stations participated in International Fascination of Plants Day (FoPD) on June 18, 2016. This activity was launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (ESPO) in cooperation with the American Society of Plant Biologists. The goal of FoPD is to show all the different ways plants play roles in our lives and to emphasize the importance of sustainability and conservation.
The Corvallis units put on displays at the Corvallis and Albany Farmers’ Markets with the help of Market Coordinator and Manager Vonda Peters and Jill Bushakra from the National Clonal Germplasm Repository. The displays included:
- information on the three Corvallis units (National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit, and Horticultural Crops Research Unit)
- educational materials such as “Science in Your Shopping Cart” and “Grown in Oregon” maps
- interactive activities such as “How Well Do You Know Your Whole Grains?”
- a dissecting microscope set up to view various types of seeds and insects
- coloring pages, ASPB bookmarks and pins for youngsters
In spite of the rain, approximately 50 people stopped by the booth at Corvallis and approximately 15 stopped by in Albany during the four hours from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Children were attracted to the dissecting microscope and were curious about what there was to see. Adults enjoyed seeing assorted common vegetable seeds up close and played at guessing the seeds of grain crops on display. Among the visitors were growers of various crops, educators from all levels, and Oregon State University students. All the adults who stopped by were fascinated by the thought of thousands of different fruit varieties stored as growing plants at the USDA Genebank and of the types of research conducted by the three ARS units in Corvallis. Many visitors picked up a flyer about the open house to be held in July and said they would come by to sample the diverse assortment of blueberries that will be available. They were also drawn to the “Grown in Oregon map” from Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom showing the agricultural crops by region. The USDA Hardiness zone map was also popular and there were multiple inquiries for copies and questions about our local hardiness zone.
Visitors were asked to write down what about plants fascinated them with comments ranging from “how tasty they are” to “their different uses in medicine and food.”
Thanks, Volunteers! Rachel Okrent of Forage Seed provided many of the materials on display as part of the outreach component of her fellowship from USDA NIFA. Barbara Gilmore and Man-Yeon Choi staffed the booth at Albany with Jill Bushakra, Christy Clark and Joseph Postman in Corvallis providing information on brown marmorated stinkbug, root-knot nematodes, and biochar, and handing out USDA reusable bags with coloring pages in English and Spanish.
- Top right – Maria and Kathleen Donovan brave the rain in Corvallis as Joseph Postman demonstrates the dissecting microscope.
- Bottom right – Man-Yeon Choi (middle) engages with a visitor in Albany.
This post was created with significant written input and images from Jill Bushakra (USDA-ARS).