Campus in Bloom

Project to Promote Biodiversity Launched at Freie Universität Berlin

No 183/2019 from Jun 18, 2019

A new initiative aiming to promote biodiversity was launched at Freie Universität Berlin. As part of a pilot project, wild meadows are being grown in ten different locations on the Dahlem campus. Students will observe what happens and conduct research for two different master’s theses in the field of biodiversity research. Up to now, these lawns have been mowed up to nine times per growing season - as customary at Freie Universität. The ten wild meadows will only be mowed once or twice per summer and are intended to provide habitat and food sources for insects and birds. Researchers and students from various disciplines and institutes as well as administrative staff at Freie Universität are involved in the "Blossoming Campus" initiative.

"Wild meadows are an effective instrument for promoting insect populations, thus counteracting the widespread death of insects worldwide," stressed the founder of the initiative Jens Rolff, the managing director of the Institute of Biology. In addition, flowering meadows require less maintenance than lawns. They only need to be mowed once or twice a season and need no fertilizer or watering. Andreas Wanke, head of the Sustainability and Energy Management Unit at Freie Universität Berlin, pointed out that the Dahlem Campus with its many green spaces has ideal conditions and enormous potential for sustainable campus management.

The newly created wild meadows are intended to become a lively part of campus life. Sophie Lokatis-Reichert, co-founder and coordinator of the initiative and a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Biology at Freie Universität, explained that none of the areas is blocked off. The members of the project want to develop flexible future use concepts for making nature in the city tangible and an enrichment for people as well as for bumble bees and buzzards. Insect pollinators and gardeners alike have benefited from the garden box projects that were started at four different locations several years ago. In the long term, the initiators plan to redesign certain selected areas, for example, by reseeding with regional mixtures.

The "blossoming campus" was initiated by Jens Rolff, Sophie Lokatis-Reichert, the initiative for sustainability and climate protection at Freie Universität, SUSTAIN IT!, and the Sustainability and Energy Management Unit at Freie Universität. The goal of the broad-based project is to bring stakeholders who are dedicated to promoting biodiversity and nature on campus together across the boundaries of individual disciplines and institutes. Participants now also include employees, researchers, and students from the fields of geography, bioinformatics, education, political science, veterinary medicine, the Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) at Freie Universität, and the Berlin Botanic Garden.

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