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Planting Science: a Mentoring Program in Plant Sciences to Capture the Interest of Middle and High School Students
C. T. ADAMS (1). (1) Botanical Society of America, St. Louis, MO, U.S.A.

PlantingScience is a Spore award-winning online mentoring program making a big impact on the way science, especially plant science, is taught in secondary schools. It stems from a National Academies challenge to societies to bring scientists into the classroom and improve students’ scientific literacy. Since 2005, >800 scientists from the American Phytopathological Society, the Botanical Society of America and 12 other scientific societies have come together to inspire interest in plant science, mentoring over 16,000 students on student-generated science projects. Student teams appreciate the chance to answer their own questions scientifically and to have conversations with scientists who help them to work as scientists. Plant-based projects engage students with plants and expose the importance of plants to the world. Despite national efforts, scientific literacy, especially botanical literacy, is still in decline. Teachers report being more comfortable using animal examples over plant examples when teaching biological concepts. Only 60% of US high school biology teachers report having ever taken a botany course. By bringing societies of plant scientists together, we can expand PlantingScience into a new decade, reaching more students and teachers in our quest towards a common goal of widespread scientific and botanical literacy. Join us: help open the eyes of students and teachers around the world to the key importance of plant science for our future.

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