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Minnesotans Invited to a Series of Public Events on Plant Diseases

St. Paul, Minn. (July 21, 2008)—Like human epidemics, plant diseases have often shaped the course of history. From the Irish potato famine of the 1840s to the looming threat of wheat rust for Midwest crops and ongoing issues with Elm and Ash trees, maintaining healthy plants is central to a healthy society and thriving economy.

Next weekend, Minneapolis will play host to the largest gathering of plant health experts from around the world as they meet for the Centennial Meeting of The American Phytopathological Society (APS). The meeting will take place July 26-30, 2008 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

“For over 100 years, plant pathologists have played a key role in keeping our food supply, gardens, and forests healthy. These experts have been at the forefront of the effort to keep our world productive and green,” explains Ray Martyn, plant pathologist at Purdue University and APS President.

To coincide with the Centennial celebration, APS is sponsoring events across the Twin Cities to connect our members to the local community and to highlight contemporary issues of plant health. Whether you are a weekend gardener, a biology teacher, or a professional researcher, you are invited to a series of exciting public events:

“Plants Get Sick, Too” at the Science Museum of Minnesota
Opening July 15, this special exhibit chronicles the impact of plant diseases on our society. Exploring the relationship between plant pathology and our modern world, highlights include a video microscope in which visitors can view diseases up close, and an opportunity to interact with plant doctors.

“Ask the Plant Doctor” at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Another unique opportunity to pick the brain of an expert! Join us on July 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to learn strategies for keeping plants healthy and to recognize common diseases that could cause problems in the garden. Plant doctors will be available throughout the grounds, and the event is free with Arboretum admission.

APS Members to Tour Twin Cities Nurseries
In conjunction with the “Ask a Plant Doctor” event, APS members will embark on a series of field trips to locations including the Arboretum, the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center, and local cut flower facilities in order to learn about disease management for horticultural crops in Minnesota. These field trips are designed to connect our members, who come from across the country and the globe, with local farmers, researchers, and gardeners, familiarizing APS members with the unique character of Minnesota plant life and crops.

Expert Lectures Open to the Media
Members of the media are invited to join APS at the Convention Center to hear experts from around the world in the field of plant health discuss relevant topics such as food security, plant biodiversity, and catastrophic tree diseases such as oak wilt, pitch canker, and white pine blister rust. Members of the media are extended complimentary registration. Registration packets are available onsite with press credentials.

The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a nonprofit, professional scientific organization, headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota. The research of the organization’s more than 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health. Founded in 1908, APS is celebrating 100 years of breakthroughs in plant disease research.