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Investigating plant pests just got fun!

Media release: 7 November 2008

Australia's former Chief Scientist, Dr Jim Peacock AC officially launched a beautifully illustrated big book for children yesterday at the CSIRO Discovery Centre.

Developed and written by the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity (CRCNPB), Dr Jim Peacock said Plant Pest Investigation will be a key resource to foster interest in science and educate children about the importance of plant biosecurity.

‘Resources such as this book provide the younger generation with awareness of important issues and are also fundamental to capturing enthusiasm for science at an early age,' said Dr Peacock.

‘By sharing the story with their families, hopefully children will raise community awareness about plant biosecurity issues and become ambassadors for science,' he said.

CRCNPB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Simon McKirdy said the book was part of the CRCNPB's school education strategy, which addresses Australian Government reports on declining participation in science and the possible future shortages of skilled scientists.

‘Through Plant Pest Investigation, we hope to address some of the issues government has identified by portraying themes of plant biosecurity and science through an engaging and exciting story,' said Dr McKirdy.

‘Our aim is to create enthusiasm for science at an early age to inspire a new generation of Australian scientists, as well as provide an educational resource that can be used in the classroom,' he said.

Fifty kindergarten children from Gold Creek Primary School attended the launch and participated in a reading of Plant Pest Investigation by the book's character scientist, Dr Wheaten.

Plant Pest Investigation is a story of siblings Sam and Lily who embark on a scientific investigation with scientist Dr Wheaten, to find the reason behind Sam's sick plant. Their investigation takes them through memories of their overseas holiday, a trip to their grandparents' farm and a visit to a real science laboratory. During their investigation, they learn about the importance of protecting Australia's crops from pests.

Plant Pest Investigation can be ordered through the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity's website

The CRCNPB is the central coordinating body for plant biosecurity research across all Australian states and territories.