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Biodiversity in Bedminster

Wildflower meadow in BEdminster by Julia Kole

Avon New Cut, Bedminster Julia Kole

Wildflower meadow in Bedminster

Wildflower meadow in Bedminster Julia Kole

21 May 2015

Julia Kole, a student on the MSc in Environmental Policy and Management, undertook a partnership project where she worked with a community partner as part of her dissertation. She chose to work with the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership to see if biodiversity could be improved in the local area.

In the summer of 2014, as part of her dissertation project, Julia met with Ben Barker from the Greater Bedminster Partnership who asked Julia ‘Why is urban biodiversity so low in Bedminster compared with other areas of Bristol? What kinds of practices are being implemented in other cities in the UK to enhance biodiversity and of these practices which one could Bedminster use?’ 

The Greater Bedminster Partnership is made up of 90 local, mainly voluntary and community groups, who collaborate to make the area better. The partnership was concerned about biodiversity after previous studies by the Avon and Wildlife Trust identified that Bedminster had the lowest levels of birds in the city. 

Julia found that wildlife corridors had improved biodiversity in other cities and that community involvement as well as support and understanding of the value of green spaces by the local community, were important factors. Julia presented these findings at a public meeting in Bedminster and created an executive summary of her dissertation for the partnership.

The Greater Bedminster Community Partnership plan to use Julia’s findings for reference and funding as ‘it provides evidence for the partnership to be taken seriously’. The Partnership has also used the report to build public support for planting wildflowers with an article in the Bristol Post.

Julia found that working with a community partner provided relevance to her dissertation – "it wasn’t just theory or an abstract question I was working on but a question I knew a community wanted answering and I was getting real life experience". The community partner found that Juila had "lots of bright ideas and energy. She created enthusiasm among the groups she talked to and enthusiasm goes a long way".

Dr. Sean Fox, Director of the MSc Environmental Policy & Management believes that these types of partnerships are win-win. "Students get a unique opportunity to do research that really matters to local organisations, while partners benefit from the skills and enthusiasm of our students".

Not only was Julia working on her dissertation, she was conducting a high level public engagement, whilst answering their real-life questions and created an academic piece of work as a result.

Further information

Find out more about Community Based Learning at the University of Bristol and the Cabot Institute.