Date of release: Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fascination of Plants DayWould you like to extract DNA from bananas, taste different types of coffee and chocolate, sow seeds and discover how pruning makes plants grow in different shapes?

These are just a few of the many free activities and hands-on experiments for visitors of all ages to enjoy at a Fascination of Plants Day. It is being held at the University of Greenwich's Medway Campus at Chatham Maritime on Sunday 17 May, from 11am to 3pm.

Plant specialists from the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, including its Natural Resources Institute, will reveal the many secrets and challenges of growing trees, photosynthetic bugs and plants.

Visitors will also find out more about some of the many ways plant science is applied, from using pond algae to provide fuel to producing the key crops needed to feed the world.

Dr Elinor Thompson, one of the event organisers, warns it may get a little messy. She says: "This is a chance for us to share our fascination with plants and celebrate how much they contribute to our lives and our environment.

"We want everyone to have a go at fun hands-on experiments – including mashing up fruit and vegetables, plants and water! There are also lots of plant games and quizzes with prizes to be won."

The Greenwich team will be joined by horticulture and agriculture experts from Hadlow College and East Malling Research

The Fascination of Plants event is part of an international awareness campaign by the European Plant Science Organisation representing research institutes in 30 countries across three continents.

It will also mark the launch of a new Masters in Applied Plant Science at the University of Greenwich.

Dr Thompson says: "We are delighted that we now have this one-year degree programme available to meet the growing need in the UK, and farther afield, for more trained plant scientists.

"The programme will be ideal for people already working in plant industries, or for life sciences graduates keen to specialise and work in plant science, horticulture or agriculture at a higher level.

"We are working closely with Hadlow College, East Malling Research and horticultural businesses to deliver a degree programme that will develop the knowledge and skills required for this increasingly important field of research and development."

Find out more about research and courses at the University of Greenwich's Faculty of Engineering & Science at http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/faculty/engsci or call 020 8331 9000. Search for MSc Applied Plant Science on Facebook.

Story by Public Relations