Uddetorp Nature Resource School in Skara (Sweden) wins regional environmental grant

June 22, 2023
By: Gerd Alscher

IMG_7716 (1)Flowers along fields and an inventory of insects are initiatives that the school is working on to promote biodiversity. For this they have been awarded the Västra Götaland region’s annual environmental grant.

Uddetorp is a VET agricultural school located on the outskirts of Skara, with around 200 hectare of arable land, 16 hectares of pastures, 63 hectares of forest. The school is run by Naturbruksförvaltningen (Nature Resource Department), which is part of Region Västra Götaland. The department is tasked with managing agricultural schools and being part of rural development in Västra Götaland.

– “We have a unique opportunity at our school,” says Principal Karin Rosén. ‘We allow research, innovation, and our school activities to meet under the same roof. When pupils and students are involved in the work, we hope that it will become natural to think about biodiversity in their future careers. They are the farmers of the future and will carry the knowledge to their large network of contacts in the industry.

‘No quick fix’

The environmental grant was awarded on Friday, May 12th 2023 to recognize good environmental efforts made at departments in Region Västra Götaland. In attendance was Joel Lilljebjörn, a project developer at the Natural Resource Department and one of the staff members who has led the work on biodiversity in recent years. Together with Ulf Johnsson, operations manager, and student Edward Kvist, they received the award.

– ‘This is not a quick fix. We must work with biodiversity on several fronts and all the time,” says Joel Lilljebjörn. ‘We want to be a good example for others to follow. We test and show the way and are happy to share our experiences.

Uddetorp has worked with biodiversity for a long time. The work of sowing strips of flowers alongside the fields to create important habitats for pollinating insects is receiving special attention in connection with the award ceremony. Another measure is inventories of flowers, insects, and birds.

– With this information, we hope to make better decisions and adapt the management of our land. We can benefit pollinating insects while allowing the fields to continue producing food in the long term,” says Joel Lilljebjörn.

Has someone seen the great yellow bumblebee in Sweden?

…or the purple-edged copper? Probably not. These are examples of red-listed species that were discovered during the inventory of species.

– From what we understand, the work of inventorying both pollinators and flowers in such a systematic way as we do is uncommon in Sweden. We hope to collect data that can also inspire and be used by other actors,” says Joel Lilljebjörn.


How the work continues

– “In the newly launched SamBio project, we are working together with other project partners to increase knowledge of biodiversity among schoolchildren and businesses,” says Paula Bäckman, Area Manager at the Nature Resource Department. “We hope for a long-term goal where we see a better-informed public in Västra Götaland and more initiative-taking decision makers in the business community.

(author: Josefin Lantz (see pic))

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