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Dates for your diary

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get more organised in 2012, here is advanced notice of two entries for your diary. First, the 18–19th of April (2012), the Inaugural Meeting of the UK Plant Science Federation ( sorry, RoW). Imaginatively entitled UK PlantSci 2012, this event takes place at the John Innes Centre in Norwich (UK…) and is intended to ‘showcase the wealth of plant science that is being undertaken across the UK from cell biology to ecology’. Featuring such themes as Plant Biodiversity and Evolution, Carbon Capture and Yield, Genomics and Breeding, Adapting to Environments, Plant and Soil, and – arguably, the most important one of all!? – Plant Science Education, it will be a platform for plant scientists throughout the UK to get together and share their knowledge and expertise. However, if that’s too parochial for you, then another date for your diary is May the 18th (2012!), which is billed as the first international ‘Fascination of Plants Day’. This European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO)-inspired pan-global extravaganza’s very laudable goal is ‘to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science…’. Many institutions around the world have already signed up to participate and no doubt we’ll hear more about the events that are planned in the coming months. Notwithstanding the importance of plants to all our lives, botanical research is often neglected in terms of national funding priorities – as documented by Cyrus Martin (Current Biology). Accordingly, we desperately need events such as these to celebrate – and promote! – ‘plantness’ in all its variety. Additionally, we need more of the 10-year plans for plant science like the one being deliberated in the USA. Let’s hope all of this raising-of-awareness of matters botanical – and particularly its pivotal role in the past, present and doubtless future of human society – helps put plants (back) on the funding map! But! A thought: whilst this column is happy to promote both calendar events, shouldn’t every day be ‘fascination of plants’ day!??

Nigel Chaffey

I am a Botanist and former Senior Lecturer in Botany at Bath Spa University (Bath, near Bristol, UK). As News Editor for the Annals of Botany I contributed the monthly Plant Cuttings column to that international plant science journal for almost 10 years. As a freelance plant science communicator I continue to share my Cuttingsesque items - and appraisals of books with a plant focus - with a plant-curious audience at Plant Cuttings [] (and formerly at Botany One []). In that guise my main goal is to inform (hopefully, in an educational, and entertaining way) others about plants and plant-people interactions, and thereby improve humankind's botanical literacy. I'm happy to be contacted to discuss potential writing - or talking - projects and opportunities.
[ORCID: 0000-0002-4231-9082]

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