Friday Film:: The Muse Green Roof

Today’s Friday Film features a green roof in Islington, London designed by Bere Architects, Kim Wilkie and Dusty Gedge. It’s been a great success in attracting wildlife including goldfinches, house sparrows, butterflies and a variety of bees. The video features photos of a variety of plants from the roof and many of the insects which make use of those plants. The green roof was also highlighted in Small Green Roofs: Low-Tech Options for Greener Living which was featured in a past book review.

The Muse, home and the office of Bere Architects – http://www.bere.co.uk/ – is one of London’s exemplar green roofs. The combination of intensive, semi-intensive and extensive green roof on one building shows how amenity, enjoyment and biodiversity can designed into one building to provide as wide a range of environmental and ecosystem service benefits.

The building is…

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Friday Film:: The Importance of Parks to People and Wildlife

Today’s Friday Film is a video from the Brussels Natural History Museum for their exhibition on urban wildlife and features Dr Peter Shepherd from BSG Ecology discussing why parks are important to people and wildlife. He talks about the importance of beautiful plants, the song of birds and other wildlife to people and without mentioning it by name, describes biophilia. The video talks about how our connection to nature in the past was more fundamental because we relied on it for our food, clothing, shelter and fuel, but today while it’s less essential to our survival, parks provide somewhere to connect, relax, exercise and a sense of community.

The Brussels Natural History Museum has a fascinating new permanent exhibition titled BiodiverCITY now.

Who would have thought that a slowworm could be hiding in a corner of…

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Friday Film:: How best to create a wildlife-friendly garden?

There are over 3 million gardens in Greater London which offer an ‘untapped potential’ to make the city more resilient to climate change and better for wildlife, according to the London Wildlife Trust. How do we begin to exploit this potential? According to LWT’s expert gardener Elaine Hughes, gardeners should be a ‘bit less tidy’.

This short video illustrates many of the key points for creating urban wildlife habitat including using drought tolerant plants and providing shelter for birds and insects by being less tidy and leaving seed heads and leaves in the winter months. The video also illustrates how many of the ideas presented can be achieved by nearly anybody; while some people have the resources to add a green roof, others with small space can make a difference by simply planting a window sill with wildlife friendly plants.

The…

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Friday Film:: Designing the Urban Ark: Biodiversity and the Future of Cities

Today’s Friday Film is a lecture by Dr. Kristina Hill, Associate Professor and Director of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia presented by the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I was familiar with her name as a co-editor of Ecology and Design with Bart Johnson, one of my professors at the University of Oregon so I was very interested to find this lecture online. It’s a fascinating talk which anyone with an interest in urban biodiversity and stormwater management will find stimulating with some fascinating ideas.

The lecture begins with an interesting introduction to the history of ecological city design starting with London in the 1800’s and the idea of green belts and Olmsted in the Boston and how urban planning got ‘off track’. She also discusses how many studies show that urban areas…

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Friday Film:: Biodiversity in Our Cities: The Case for Urban Nature

friday filmToday’s Friday Film features a panel discussion in two parts titled Biodiversity in Our Cities: The Case for Urban Nature. This panel coordinated and moderated by Marielle Anzelone, Conservation Biologist & Executive Director of NYC Wildflower Week, features four different panelists of very diverse backgrounds and professions. The panel presents a comprehensive view of urban biodiversity from not only an ecology view, but also from management, policy, education, design and business views.

It’s a fascinating discussion that brings together many elements necessary in improving biodiversity which many of us may not get exposure to in our own profession or world. These videos really highlight how improving biodiversity in our cities is a subject that concerns and needs many different individuals, not just environmentalists and naturalists.

The official description of the panel…

Did you know that there is nature in New York City? The…

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Friday Film:: Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination

The Friday Film this week looks at the topic of pollination with a TED talk from cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg. In this brief talk he presents footage from his film, Wings of Life which features incredible imagery of hummingbirds, bats, bees and other pollinators.

From the TED website:

Pollination: it’s vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film “Wings of Life,” inspired by the vanishing of one of nature’s primary pollinators, the honeybee.

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