Resources for Teaching with Plant Love Stories

At Botany 2020, we presented the lightning talk Writing Your Plant Love Story: A Science Writing Activity for Remote or In-Person Instruction.

(slides & transcript)

We believe EVERYONE has a plant love story - even if they don’t know it yet. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of thinking. Here are 10 prompts to help your students (& you) along: 

  1. What is the first plant you remember? 

  2. What is the first plant you ever loved? 

  3. Is there a plant that helped set you on your path? They plant that started it all? 

  4. Is there a plant that reminds you of someone special in your life? 

  5. Do you have a plant “family heirloom”? 

  6. When did you first realize that plants are alive? 

  7. What is a plant you love to hate? 

  8. Do you have a strong sensory memory related to a plant? - Are there the plants you hear/smell/feel/taste in your dreams?

  9. Is there a plant that signifies “home” to you? 

  10. Sometimes plants tie in to important life-cycle events - do you have a Plant Love Story about a milestone in your life? 

Your students may ask: What makes a something a Plant Love Story? 

 

Plant. Plant love stories should focus on a plant, a type of plants, or even an ecosystem with plants that have a special meaning to you. We’ve had stories about wildflowers and houseplants, food plants (lots of tomato stories!) and carnivorous plants, trees, shrubs, sedges, rushes, bushes, and prairies, woodlands, and wetlands.  

 

Love. The plant in a Plant Love Story evokes emotion. Often the emotion is love, but not always. Or sometimes it is love mixed with another emotion. We have shared love/hate stories about plants, stories about growth, stories about loss (of plants and of people). Through Plant Love Stories we show that plants are a part of our world, and that we can have deep ties to them.   

 

Story. Plant Love Stories are stories specifically about plants, but the elements of good storytelling still apply. The story should have a beginning, middle, and end. The story should be accessible to a general audience, so botanical (or other!) jargon should be minimal. Most plant love stories (though not all!) are personal narratives about the plants in our lives. Science can be weaved into the story, but this is not at all necessary, and science is definitely a supporting player. A Plant Love Story is not a research paper. 

In addition to what you might consider a typical story, we have also published poetry and botanical art (or stories about botanical art). 

More info you might need: 

  • Plant love stories are ideally between 500-1000 words. 

  • We usually post one story a week, on Wednesdays.

  • Stories are often edited before posting, but we will check with the author to get their approval before posting 

 

If you have questions about a submission, email us at PlantLoveStories@gmail.com. 

Overview of the SciComm Plant Biology Blog assignment for undergrads created by Sara Kuebbing

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