Call for abstracts: Tackling the roots of plant blindness

Join the Teaching and Learning SIG as they bring together experts to discuss plant blindness, its implications and how to tackle it. The call for abstracts is now open (until 24 April).

School of Geography, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, 9 June 2020 at Leeds University.

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr Mark Fennell, Associate Director of AECOM and expert in invasive plant ecology and management
  • Dr Susannah Lydon, Assistant Professor in Plant Sciences, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Jonathan Mitchley, Associate Professor and Senior Ecologist, University of Reading

More information, to submit an abstract (until 24 April), and to register for the event, please go here.

Plant blindness (the inability of people to recognise and identify even common plant species compared to a generally reasonable ability to recognise animals) is a major problem. Fewer university courses contain significant identification or taxonomy components, and university students (and the general public) show a clear lack of knowledge around plant identification. This becomes particularly concerning when we consider that many major global challenges, from food security to climate change, rely on plants for some component of their solutions.

Our event will bring together experts from a range of academic and industry areas to discuss plant blindness, its implications and how to tackle it. We will have a series of keynotes and lightning presentations and finish with a workshop. The workshop will focus on strategies to (1) tackle plant blindness; (2) improve the teaching of plant identification and better incorporate these skills into a wide array of degrees (e.g. general biology, ecology and physical geography degrees); and (3) consider if “plant blindness” is a problematic term and, if so, what could replace it. We will produce a short written piece for publication focusing on the issues and solutions identified during the meeting.


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