BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 04 August '16

Interactive festival lets all ages get hands-on with Kew’s scientific work

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is set to host its first Science Festival, bringing science out of the labs and into the Gardens on 5-7 August.

Festival will ’engage and fascinate’

Celebrating ground-breaking scientific discoveries and the work of Kew scientists, this family-friendly festival will showcase the importance of scientific research and the need for botanical and organic science.

Visitors can get hands-on and interactive with Kew’s science in a way that will spark a lifelong interest in plants and fungi in everyone. Through on-site workshops and activities led by Kew scientists, researchers and students aim to raise awareness of a wide range of important scientific issues.

‘Kew’s first Science Festival will engage and fascinate in equal measure. It’s all about getting science into the Gardens and showcasing the exciting work carried out by our scientists in a fun environment.’

PROFESSOR KATHY WILLIS
Kew’s Director of Science

Become a citizen scientist

The festival will feature over 15 interactive areas, giving all ages the opportunity to explore Kew’s scientific work in a hands-on way.

From using a DNA sequencer that can fit in a hand – which reads DNA letters directly from the living organism to the computer screen – to cloning a cabbage and pollinating orchids with tuning forks, the exhibits will offer lots of fun ways to engage.

Visitors can also become citizen scientists and have their name included in a scientific paper by helping researchers measure and assess new plant species.

Something for everyone

The Kew Science Festival will host a special display and talks about carnivorous plants from the Carnivorous Plants Society (4-8 August). Visitors will be able to meet the special plants that bite back and the experts who love them.

Younger budding scientists will be invited to try to make their own mushroom spore print, take part in the plant-pressing ‘Olympics’ or go on a treasure hunt for the nearest relative to a cabbage. Can you guess what it is?

‘I am very excited to be taking part in Kew’s first Science Festival with so many of our young science team. I think the programme has great variety with something to entice the curious minds of every visitor. It’s a wonderful opportunity to make botanical science accessible to those who have supported Kew and have a desire to know what goes on behind the scenes here.’

DR PAUL WILKIN
Senior Scientist, RBG Kew

The Kew Herbarium collection grows by around 35,000 new specimens a year. The 2016 Science Festival includes a unique demonstration of the mounting process used for botanical specimens, allowing botany enthusiasts to explore the process and intricacy of this kind of work.

Click here to find out more about RBG Kew’s Science Festival and to see a full programme.