WSU Students Show Plant Disease at Palouse Discovery Science Center Family Science Saturday
Zack Frederick and David Wheeler, Ph.D. students in plant pathology at Washington State University, and Chanel McGowan, a WSU student and intern at the Palouse Discovery Science Center (PDSC), hosted one of several Family Science Saturday events entitled “Fungus Among Us” at the PDSC, Pullman, Washington. The goal of these hands-on, informal science education events is to teach the general public and children ages 4-12 about fungi in the world around them. The fungi included chytrids, mushrooms, and important plant pathogens such as Claviceps purpurea, Phytophthora infestans, and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Through several educational stations set up in the science center’s “Discovery Lab” area, participants got to dig in and touch fungi, find them in water or plants, and see what they looked like under a microscope. The children found signs of the pathogen on a host plant, inferred what might be wrong, isolated the candidate causal agent, observed it under a microscope, and inferred how it moved. Everyone learned how to prepare a specimen slide for microscopy.