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Sustainability Clinic Spotlight: George Warrick and team work with Crambe Grange Farm

News | Posted on Monday 13 May 2024

George Warrick and his peers have been working with Crambe Grange Farm as part of a Sustainability Clinic project.

A team of Third Year students from the Department of Environment and Geography have recently completed a sustainability project with Crambe Grange Farm as part of the Sustainability Clinic module. The student team included George Warrick, Amelia Herschel-Shorland, Amy James, Ben Mather, Conah Doherty, Ellie Whitley, Ethan Booth, Izzie Burrows, Joseph Quance, Sammy Dowie, and Tayo Adeniyi.

We asked George Warrick, a member of the student team, to share his experience being involved in this project.

Read George’s story below.

Tell us a bit about your Sustainability Clinic Project.

Our project focused on determining the biodiversity data of various fields on Crambe Grange Farm. We met with Alison, our project partner, who wanted a base-line data set to determine whether, once they’d introduced certain biodiversity increasing initiatives, the fields had become more diverse and whether what they were doing was working.

To determine this, we visited the farm on multiple days to collect data of the fields using quadrats. The site was mapped using ArcGIS so that we knew the sites we were surveying. Once we had collated and analysed the data, we handed our findings to Alison, which she was very happy with.

How do you think this project has impacted your partner, as well as yourself?

The impact that the Sustainability Clinic project has had on me is great, and I am very appreciative of how it has allowed me to develop. Our partner was very appreciative for all we’ve done too. The impact for Alison and the local area is also very important as she can use what we have done to improve the biodiversity of her farm, and can also pass on all that we’ve learnt to local farms. 

Future students can use what we have done when completing their own projects on the land. This means we’ve been able to help future students in the same position as us. When thinking on a larger scale, the impact of the project is one that have merit as we know that increasing the sustainability of farms worldwide is a key focus for ensuring the future of our society.

Alison, project partner at Crambe Grange Farm, has added her thoughts about our project's impact:

"The work that the students undertook will have a lasting impact on the way we manage our hedgerows, especially considering that the biodiversity of invertebrates was 100% greater in the hedges that had not been cut compared to those that had. Going forward we plan to cut the majority of our hedges once every three years instead of annually.

This has also influenced our decision to enter our hedgerows into the Sustainable Farming Incentive for the next three years. We also intend to sow wildflowers and plant hedge shrubs such as Rowan to further improve the biodiversity and promote habitat creation. Finally we intend to remove all the plastic hedge and tree guards which can be recycled."

What have you learnt from this experience?

I’ve learnt so much from this experience, such as how to work in a professional manner, especially when liaising with our partner organisation. I have also learned how to plan and manage my time effectively. The key thing that the project involved was working well as a team. Finally, I have developed my own knowledge of ecological methodologies as well as ecological knowledge. All of these are invaluable for my future, so I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to develop them further in the Sustainability Clinic module.

Do you have any final thoughts?

To finish, I would like to say thank you to the Sustainability Clinic team and all that helped to make this happen as I am very appreciative of all that we’ve been able to achieve for ourselves and our partner. Thank you!

About the Sustainability Clinic

This Sustainability Clinic project with Crambe Grange Farm has been offered by the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York, demonstrating their contribution to the Sustainability Clinic and their commitment to advancing sustainability efforts within and beyond the University community. The Sustainability Clinic is also available as a “York Interdisciplinary Module” open to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all Departments/Schools across the University, making it a truly interdisciplinary experience for our students.

The Sustainability Clinic is still available to choose as an elective module in 2024/25. Find out how you can swap one of your optional modules for the Sustainability Clinic next year.

The Sustainability Clinic

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Sustainability at York