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Attack of the clones

Louise Edgeworth

venus fly trap  I have spent my working life as a secondary school Biology teacher.  A lesson on any aspect of Botany was invariably greeted with groans of “uurrgg, do we have to Miss? Plants are so boring”.  I made it my mission to dispel that myth, and relished doing so.  A few choice facts about the gruesome nature of plant poisons or carnivorous plants was usually a good starting point, especially for the younger pupils.  Even the most sceptical of sixth formers developed a grudging respect for plants after studying the biochemistry of photosynthesis.  No lesson on cloning was ever complete without the kids making streptocarpus clones.  The thrill of seeing tiny plantlets growing from strips of leaf was wonderful to witness.  Their pride on taking home a clone and saying “I grew that” was infectious.  I am delighted  to see the rise of gardening at school – our local paper this week had an article about the opening of a garden at a primary school.  There has been great interest in growing your own veg and flowers, as part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  Young people today are more aware than ever of the need to look after the environment.  Long may it continue.


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