NUI Galway will lead Ireland’s involvement in the first ever international Fascination of Plants Day which will be held on Friday, 18 May. The Fascination of Plants Day will be celebrated by 39 countries worldwide, with the common goal getting people enthused by the importance of plant science.
A photography and art exhibition celebrating ‘Our Fascinating Flora’ will officially open at the NUI Galway Art Gallery on Friday, 18 May at 2pm and run until Wednesday, 23 May. Featured exhibits willinclude works from botanical artist Margareta Pertl, and artists Miriam de Burca, Alan Crowley and Peter Sherry. Ceramic art will include exhibits from Veronika Straberger, Anna Pielach and Louise Browne, and wood turning from Ambrose and Bríd O’Halloran. Winners of the national Fascination of Plants Day photography competition will also feature.
Stories, all featuring the theme of plants, will be told by renowned storyteller Rab Fulton in the Art Gallery on Friday, 18 May at 11am and by Dr Maria Tuohy and members of Biochemistry at 3pm.
Another feature of the celebration of plants will be a tree climbing session, on Wednesday, 23 May outside Áras de Brún, near the Quadrangle Building, with Keith Browne and experts from NUI Galway Mountaineering Club. Volunteers from the club will help the public get up into the trees using harnesses and ropes, to see what goes on at canopy level.
Dr Zoë Popper, Lecturer in Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, said: “Plants are fascinating, and beautiful. Having the ability to directly synthesise their own food has enabled plants to successfully colonise, adapt to, and diversify within almost every niche on the planet. There are over 250,000 plant species and they are vital for us in terms of agriculture, food, horticulture and forestry. Plants also play a role in non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals.”
Other themed events are taking place around the country, with participation by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, National Botanic Gardens, Trinity College Dublin and Burrenbeo.