A lot has been going on these passed few weeks at The Lions Gate.
After putting up flyers for the project around all Napier campuses we’ve managed to get approximately 30 volunteers with very little work indeed. They’ve already started working with us thanks to the tremendous efforts of our horticulturist and volunteer coordinator Kat Dunlop (the harmonious gardener). Last week around 10 student, staff and external volunteers helped to move around three tonnes of leaf mulch from Craiglockhart to Merchiston!
Tam and his amazing techno watering system
Thanks to Tam Collier (Estates) we’ve been donated a timer-based watering system. All we need is some hosing to get it up and running. Tam has been a mine of information and a great support to us over the past few months. It was he who alerted us to the presence of nearly 20 tonnes of rich leaf mulch he’s been amassing at Craiglockhart over the years. Big up to him.
Plant the seed
Planting has begun in the Keder greenhouse and will continue for the foreseeable. So if you’d like to put your green fingers to work please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve got tomatoes, beans, garlic, cabbage, alpine strawberries, nasturtiums, lettuce and kale on the go already.
Oh, and finally we fixed up our ‘silent’ shredder for the first time, so we can mulch on site. Works a treat and is pretty quiet considering what it does.
It was 27 degrees celsius in the Keder this morning – a most enjoyable office temperature to work in – with a cool wind blowing through. I managed to complete a load of admin and rounded it off with potting some sweet peas, alpine strawberries and lettuce.
I also popped up to the photography department to chat about having a project photographer. Many thanks to Mary-Ann Kennedy for her enthusiasm. We’re soon to start developing an AR experience based around portraits of volunteers with quotes describing why they want to be a part of a permaculture project. Also we’d like to capture a public engagement event we’re planning for late-July. It’s all about integrating.
Many thanks to Earth Calling, and our first three volunteers Fabian, Gabrielle and Lucie for all their help yesterday making raised beds for our rooftop allotment and shifting those enormous logs from the kitchen area to The Lions Gate. You are all awesome, and the beds look great!
It’s been a challenging process, but Kat and I with the help of the university Health & Safety group have carried out risk assessments and identified suitable insurance certificates to enable volunteer input to The Lions Gate Project.
We’ve also drawn up a Volunteer Policy – with associated forms (consent for use of media, induction checklist and registration document), as well as an evaluation form to gather data on visitor and volunteer experiences of The Lions Gate Project. Thanks to the Research and Innovation Office for supplying an evaluation template that we rejigged for our purposes.
Today, we have three volunteers, Fabien, Lucie and Gabrielle visiting to test the process and help us refine it. Gabrielle and Lucie are kick-starting a similar project at The University of Edinburgh’s Kings Buildings.
Delighted to have been invited onto a newly-formed committee that Kevin Wright (Engage Manager) has set-up to look at health and well being at the university. Three areas/groups have been developed; body, mind and environment, each with academic, student and professional services representation. I’m an academic voice in the environment group – though there is obviously plenty of cross-over between groups.
An associated ‘health promotion day’ has been organised for the 14th of March at Craiglockhart, where I’ll have a stand to discuss the gardens project’s and permaculture more broadly.
Today, Dave Smith from Applied Sciences brought down his soil sampling kit and he, Kat Dunlop and I extracted seven soil samples from both The Lions Gate and kitchen allotment sites. This work forms one of the scientific anchorings of the whole project, from which research can be baselined. The samples will be analysed for organic content, life, and toxicity. We’ll build up a soil profile too.
Huge thanks to Dave and his enthusiasm for the project on what was a very cold day and an even colder auger to continually hammer into the ground. Very much hoping that this spells an interdisciplinary relationship that enables many fruitful cross-school partnerships long into the future.