Plant Doctor stand takes a trip to the seaside for the BBC One Show Summer Festival

30 Aug 2013

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Plant Doctors examine plant patients
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Screenshot from coverage of the Plant Doctor stand on BBC One Show
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Team Plant Doctor

Following the success of the Plant Doctor stand at the Bristol Festival of Nature the BBC invited us to run the stand at The One Show Summer Festival on the 6th and 7th August. We were delighted to be selected and soon got to work making preparations.

Summer festivities

The Summer Festival took place on the sunny shore of Weston-super-Mare and our Plant Doctor stand was housed in the Science Tent. After a bit of rain, the sun came out and so did the visitors, with over 10,000 people coming through the doors over the 2 days. People enjoying the seaside were soon being transformed into Plant Doctors.

Plant patients and activities

We ran the Plant Doctor activity, where people diagnosed plant diseases using plant patients: bean plants exhibiting bean rust and tobacco mosaic virus-infected tobacco plants (courtesy of Dr Andy Bailey and Dan Maxwell at the University of Bristol). People were really excited to don their Plant Doctor lab coats, and clipboards with whole families getting involved diagnosing plant diseases.

We also had an area for making model plant pathogens using plant pathogen character cards, information sheets on different pathogens and lots of arts and crafts materials. 

Live broadcast 

On the 7th August a live One Show broadcast briefly showed the Plant Doctor stand, helping to publicise the BSPP and its outreach work. We’re hoping this will lead to similar opportunities in the future.

At the end of the event we’d totally run out of model making materials, and felt very pleased to have brought the Plant Doctor stand to another event.

Feedback has been extremely positive:

'I saw a lot of the younger visitors with Plant Doctor stickers and it certainly looked like your stand was very busy.' – Joanna Ing, BBC

'That’s a good way to teach it' – Parent watching children make models

'Even though some of the children hadn't necessarily heard of pathogens under the names 'virus' 'fungi' etc. drawing the parallels to human illness worked really well.' - Volunteer

For more photos please take a look at Flikr. 

Thank you! 

This was all possible thanks to a fantastic team of volunteers who were a massive help and great at maintaining energy levels. So thank you to: Dr Peter Spencer Philips (University of the West of England); Dr Robert Jackson, Dr Amanda Livermore, Dr Tiffany Taylor and Dr Deepa Paliwal (University of Reading); Scarlett Munro, Heather Carolan, Kayleigh Varnam, Dr Diane Hird and Dan Maxwell (University of Bristol); Dr David Studholme and Dr Kate Le Cocq (University of Exeter). 

See you next year 

We’re taking a short break following the fantastic set of events this summer but we’ll be back, bigger and better next year so watch this space!