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Trinity researchers showcase pollinator and sustainability friendly gardens at Bloom

Two beautiful gardens designed by researchers from Trinity will be on display this week [May 30 – June 3] as the annual Bloom festival bursts into life.

They have been created thanks to interdisciplinary collaboration between experts in botany, education and engineering, with the goal of inspiring children and adults in their appreciation and respect of nature. This interdisciplinary approach will become more and more important if humanity is to deliver innovative solutions to the global climate crisis.

The Pollinator-Friendly Organic School garden

Dr Paddy Madden, who will graduate with his doctorate from Trinity's School of Education next month, planned this garden following extensive research into the state and status of nature in primary schools.

Among the many exciting features on display are a number of primary school projects, which are sure to be of great interest when 30 primary school classes visit on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st. Engaging with young people in schools is key to tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis, and bees and other pollinators have offered a great vehicle for inspiring interest.

Dr Paddy Madden
School of Education, Trinity College Dublin

This garden promotes understanding of the important role that pollinators play in food production and biodiversity enrichment. Among the garden's many features are a fruiting hedge, native hedgerow, butterfly patch, solitary bee nurseries, a wildflower meadow and vegetable beds made from recycled plastic.

School Earth Education (SEED) helped in the design of the garden and organised all the construction work and planting, while Bord Bia financed the project.

Professor in Botany at Trinity, Jane Stout, one of the initiators of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, will promote the Plan at a stand with experts from the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

The Plan has developed specific evidence-based guidelines for different sectors and Professor Stout's research contributes to this evidence base, so that recommendations are backed up with rigorous science.

Professor Jane Stout
School of Botany, Trinity College Dublin

Pollinators have proved very successful in engaging people with the issue of biodiversity loss – 30% of Irish bee species are currently under the threat of extinction, and 50% of species are in decline – and the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem health, our economies and human wellbeing.

Professor Stout’s work includes actively promoting the Plan to farmers, businesses, schools, local authorities and local community groups, as well as to staff and students in Trinity via the Trinity Campus Pollinator Plan.

The E3 garden

Assistant Professor in Trinity's School of Engineering, Liwen Xiao, leads a team that has created a garden that demonstrates exciting technology that simultaneously removes pollutants and generates electricity from wastewater.

Wastewater in the garden is treated and re-used for gardening, food production, dairy farming and other purposes while electricity generated in the wastewater treatment process powers a UV-LED disinfection system that purifies the treated wastewater.

Professor Liwen Xiao
School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin

The garden was developed in response to restrictions that were imposed during the heatwave of summer 2018 when using tap water to irrigate gardens was banned and many people saw their gardens ruined as a result.

The E3 garden demonstrates one solution for water shortages, which are expected to occur more frequently in the future due to the global climate crisis.