ID: 613 / 168

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: In the 1980s the concept of ‘plant blindness’ was debated – the inability of people to recognize the presence and importance of plants in their environment. Recently this debate has turned to the concept of ‘plant awareness disparity’ addressing the ableist connotations of plant blindness. A positive reaction to this debate has been to seek to promote plant awareness from the earliest years of life as one of the pillars for the future understanding of the importance of plants to humankind in the 21st century. Since the 1990s, a general decline in the teaching of botany has been identified and this debate has included concerns about the lack of botanical topics and examples in educational materials and also insufficient botanical skills of our educators. Fostering student`s plant awareness is a fundamental educational issue for this century. This symposium focuses on three themes of research on plant awareness (PA): Defining and measuring PA The appropriate definition and measurement of PA is a fundamental research topic; suitable psychometric scales are still in development. In principle, a tripartite definition distinguishes visual perception of, knowledge about and attitudes towards plants". Peter Pany presents the development of a measuring tool that enables an evaluation of the latter aspect. PA as represented by mass media In addition to these psychometric approaches, it is critical to evaluate how the ‘ideas’ of plants are conveyed in formal as well as non-formal learning environments. Verity Jones presents a study on the representation of plants in children's textbooks in the UK, while Marcia Eugenio-Gozalbo analyzes plant contents in Spanish school curricula. Didactic interventions fostering PA Finally, it is crucial to develop practical learning environments to enable the promotion of PA in students. Marcia Eugenio-Gozalbo will present various didactic strategies, ranging from gardening applications to artistic approaches.

Speaker 1: 1. Dr. Peter Pany University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria University College of Teacher Education Vienna, Vienna, Austria ( Tel: +43-1-4277-60316

Speaker 2: 2) Prof. Dr. Marcia Eugenio-Gozalbo Universidad de Valladolid “Plant awareness in Spanish formal education: an analysis of new curricula and innovative experiences at initial teacher training”

Speaker 3: 3) Prof. Dr. Verity Jones University of the West of England, Bristol “Plant awareness in children’s picture books"

Topics (Up to three): Education and Outreach

Topic 2: Ethnobotany

Topic 3: Botanical History

Justification: The disconnection between the results of botanical research and its teaching in schools is well known and the repercussions include botany teaching which is lacking in inspiration and modernity. The longer-term impacts of this are a reduction in the number of botanical and more generally plant-aware experts, with a consequent critical lack of the skills and knowledge in the workforce to deal with the environment crises of our century all of which have a botanical foundation – climate change, food security and loss of biodiversity. This symposium provides a platform for the discussion of current plant awareness research methods. This research is designed to enable the effective interdisciplinary teaching of different aspects of botany in our schools, such as plant identification, ecology and evolution and plant uses included medicinal plants and the importance of plants in sustainable development.