Plant awareness disparity (PAD, formerly known as plant blindness) is the inability to notice plants in one’s environment which leads to anthropocentric ideas such as “plants are unimportant,” “animals are more interesting than plants,” and “I don’t need to know about plants for my career,” (Parsley, 2020; Wandersee & Schussler, 2001). PAD was my primary field of research during my Ph.D. and I plan to continue doing research in this field. I have publications in progress that explore the use of botanical socioscientific issues (SSIs) and their use in capturing students’ interest in plants to decrease PAD and increase botanical literacy.
I am developing instruments to measure PAD in various demographics such as undergraduate biology students, K-12 students, and eventually, the general public. I also have plans to develop more assessments regarding botanical literacy and misconceptions surrounding botanical SSIs such as GMOs and climate change.
In addition to continuing this work, I plan to explore agricultural literacy and workforce development in future projects. I am particularly interested in how student engagement in agricultural literacy programs can affect their attitudes toward plants, as well as their PAD.
For more information on my past projects, see the Publications and Presentations tabs.