Have your say in future York Living Labs
Do you have an idea for using the campus as a test bed to improve biodiversity? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
This year, York Living Labs is bringing together staff and students to focus on testing new ways of increasing biodiversity around our campus.
Any student or member of staff can make a suggestion for a Biodiversity Living Lab project. Share your idea with the Biodiversity Management Committee by saying what you think should be done, why it is important, how it could be done and what you will do to support it.
Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Project ideas will be considered by the York Living Labs Biodiversity Management Committee and you can expect to hear whether your idea will be taken forward within 2 weeks.
What is York Living Labs?
Environmental Sustainability at York (ESAY) established the York Living Labs back in 2021 as a way of bringing together our University community to work on campus sustainability problems, and use the campus as a test-bed for sustainability solutions which have wider impact.
The Living Labs are based around key focus areas such as biodiversity, food or travel. An important part of this initiative are days or weeks of action which are intended to engage our whole community in sustainability issues. The Living Labs are intended to provide powerful learning opportunities for our students, and motivate and empower everyone on campus to drive changes towards sustainability.
Our biodiversity pilot
In summer 2022, we ran a York Living Labs (YLL) biodiversity pilot which saw five student interns provided with training and work with a team of consultants to undertake a baseline ecological survey of the campus grounds. The survey (which we committed to undertaking as part of the University Sustainability Plan) has provided us with valuable baseline data, allowing us to map our ecological habitats and quantify Biodiversity Net Gain metrics for the quality of biodiversity across campus. This has helped us to guide future decisions on how and where we can make measurable improvements to biodiversity on campus.
In line with the aims of the York Living Labs, the pilot provided an excellent opportunity to work with our students on a sustainability issue on campus. The interns came from a range of disciplines.
Through working together, students developed boundary-crossing competencies and interdisciplinary knowledge and awareness. Both students and the consultants have commented that they gained a huge amount from the pilot.
#KnowYorCampus social media campaign
A key output from the biodiversity pilot was a social media campaign (#KnowYorCampus) aimed at raising awareness of the fauna and flora on campus amongst our University community. This highly successful campaign, which ran between August and October 2022, involved sharing photos, videos and information on campus biodiversity on social media. The campaign was seen more than 250,000 times across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and generated more than 15,000 likes, comments and shares.
Share your idea
Moving forwards, we have established a management committee to formalise the biodiversity focus area for the York Living Labs and are calling on students and staff to come up with options for new focus areas!