On the occasion of the fourth International Fascination of Plants Day, the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics celebrated the “CRAG Open Day 2017”, an occasion to explain the research done in the Centre. From eleven o’clock in the morning to two in the afternoon, more than 160 visitors, mostly friends and relatives of CRAG staff, approached the Centre to see its facilities and to learn through activities and demonstrations for children and adults alike.
The welcoming words of CRAG’s director, José Luis Riechmann, inaugurated the Open Day in a crowded auditorium. Then, the visitors tested their knowledge about science and about the CRAG via a smartphone interactive contest. After that, the guests visited the building in small groups following different itineraries, during which they could see the greenhouses and the microscopy facilities, guided by explanations of the staff.
The various itineraries went through five experimental stations, each emphasizing some of the aspects of the research developed at the Centre: bacteria, flowers, fruits, light and viruses. At each station, CRAG researchers conducted demonstrations and experiments, and visitors were able to take some seeds and small plants with them so they could bring the science experience home.
To conclude the event, the IRTA researchers at CRAG Montse Martín and Werner Howad gave an informative talk on the viruses that infect plants (“Good viruses, beautiful viruses”) and the vegetal improvement techniques (“Science applied to agriculture”), respectively.
The organization of the event was made possible thanks to the work and coordination of 35 CRAG staff volunteers, who guided the visitors and explained their research and the characteristics of the facilities. Because of the dedication of the CRAG personnel, it was possible to transmit to the family audience the science done in the Centre and its relevance to society.
Representing almost two-fifths of the visitors, the children had an outstanding presence with a special notebook that they filled in the different stations and points of interest. As a reward, the young (and not so young) attendees could build a DNA double strand made of candy. The day could not have had a sweeter end!
The CRAG Open Day 2017 was possible thanks to the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness through the “Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa 2016-2019” (SEV-2015-0533) granted to CRAG.
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