Fascination of Plants Day 2019

Fruits and vegetables

Sponsored by the Center for Plant Science Innovation and the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Public Events
Saturday, May 18

2 – 5 pm
Public Events Schedule

Invited High School Students
Friday, May 17

9 am – 2:30 pm
High School Student Schedule

About Fascination of Plants Day

Plants are fascinating. From one little seed, planted into soil, many green lives can arise - from small herbs up to big trees, or from ornamental flowers to substantial crops which all animals and mankind need to survive on this planet. Plant biologists estimate the total number of plant species roughly to be about 250,000.

We hope the worldwide coordinated activity of Fascination of Plants Day 2019 will plant again many virtual and constantly germinating seeds in our collective minds that plant science is of critical significance to the social and environmental landscape now and into the future.

The goal of Fascination of Plants Day is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture, in sustainability producing food, as well as for horticulture, forestry, and all of the non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environmental conservation is our key message.


Public Events


2 – 5 p.m. – Earl G. Maxwell Arboretum EAST Campus, 38th & Holdrege St.

Family-friendly activities include:
  • Live Music! The Jazzocracy will be playing at 2 p.m.
  • Activities with The Garden Club of Lincoln 
  • Free plants for your home and garden
  • Make your own plant art with the Lux Center for the Arts
  • Nebraska Master Gardeners will answer your gardening questions  
  • Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable? Find out what you're really eating at our fruit and vegetable table
  • Root roommates – find out how the soil microbiome affects our crops.
  • Tat a plant – Make a picture appear on a leaf because of chloroplast movement.
  • Break a membrane and find out how plants survive cold.
  • Big grass, little grass. From 12 feet tall to two inches, grasses are one of the most diverse plant families. 
  • Soybeans and how they're transforming aquaculture, including the Nebraska Soybean Board
  • Plants that live on air - learn how they live without roots!
  • How plants cry for help when they're being eaten!
  • Hop breeding in Nebraska
  • Learn about plants of the prairie and get a tree seedling from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
  • And more!
Event will be moved to Hardin Hall, 3310 Holdrege St., in case of inclement weather.
Jazz Ocracy
Maxwell Arboretum Tree
Plants in laboratory

Invited High School Students


9-11 a.m. – Beadle Center Atrium

  • Investigate microalgae! They swim, they float, they do photosynthesis! Join the Cerutti lab as they investigate the true source of fossil fuels, and maybe next gen fuels, microalgae.
  • A moment of science, please. Learn how to extract DNA and oil from plants, an important part of the Clemente’s lab research on making healthier oils in soybeans.
  • Plants love microbes!!! Find out how a healthy relationship between plants and microbes changes plants and their partners. See both interacting using microscopes in the Libault lab!
  • Fascination with plant pigments. See how diverse plant pigments are, and learn how to do chromatography, a daily technique used in the Cahoon lab.
  • All-natural antioxidants: Which foods have the same ones? Which colored fruits and vegetables have the same pigments? Use chromatography to find out with the Roston lab!
  • What’s killing my tomato? See pathogens attack tomato plants and see the pathogens directly by staining them and observing them by microscopy with the Zeng lab.
  • BIG machine, BIG data. Join the Obata lab to prepare and run samples in a high-resolution mass spectrometer to see how a little sample can make a LOT of data and a BIG story.
  • Machine learning and computer vision in plant science.  Learn how to use a computer to measure the differences between corn and sorghum with the Schnable lab!

11:15 – 11:50 a.m. – Lunch

11:50 a.m. – Bus to East Campus

12:15 – 1:45 p.m. – East Campus

  • The chemistry of wheat. Feel the difference between different types of wheat and learn how they originated with the Baenziger lab.
  • Cell phone image analysis and Who’s killing my plants? Get familiar with different plant disease case studies to solve the mystery of “Who’s killing my plants?” with the Everhart lab and learn how to use your cell phone to measure plant growth with Tai Pleasant.
  • Plants cry for help when attacked. Observe your own biological warfare in action with the Louis lab.
  • Exploiting genetic variation to make improvements. Be on the team of a top plant breeder and examine plant traits to decide what to breed next with the Amundsen lab.
  • Gardens, garden plants, and gardening. Love to garden? Learn more about the possibilities as you tour the UNL gardens with a Master Gardener. Plant and take home your own sample!
  • Find the gene – trait connection. Extract DNA from soybeans and measure their traits. Analyze your results to find out which genes are connected to which traits with the Hyten lab.

1:45 – 2:20 p.m. – Dairy Store ice cream

Fascination of Plants Day 2019 is coordinated by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Center for Plant Science Innovation and the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Thank you to the faculty and staff within these departments for their support.

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Center for Plant Science
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
The Global Plant Council