From Bee ‘O’ Top to UPPA’s Biotope

By Direction de la communication

Winners of the E2S UPPA 2020 Student Challenge for their Bee 'O' Top project, Émilie Pasquet, Sarah Bricks, Thalie Leroy and Siann Chalvin are planting flowered meadows and habitats on the Pau campus to feed and welcome wild bees.

UPPA will welcome new residents next fall, who are as discreet as they are hard-working: wild bees! Stingless and generally harmless, these pollination queens can thank Émilie, Sarah, Thalie and Siann, winners of the last E2S UPPA Student Challenge with a first prize of €600. Their project, called Bee 'O' Top, with a total budget of 8000 €, consists in enhancing the green spaces of the different campuses of the University by planting flowered meadows and habitats intended to offer hospitality to these friendly pollinators, essential to the survival of thousands of plant and animal species.

“The wild bee population has declined sharply in recent decades, leading to a significant drop in biodiversity. It's paradoxical, but the urban environment is becoming a refuge for all pollinating insects. With Bee 'O' Top, our ambition is to offer them shelter and food in the heart of the city,” says Émilie Pasquet, a student in a Master's degree program in sustainable development, planning, society and territory, now on a civic service in Burgundy-Franche-Comté. On the one hand, a diversity of local flowers, without pesticides or phytosanitary products, for safe foraging. On the other hand, wooden cubes filled with loose soil and sand to live and reproduce in peace.

Flowering meadows on campus

Émilie Pasquet, Sarah Bricks, Thalie Leroy and Siann Chalvin
Members of student association L'Arrosoir, dedicated to the environmental transition, the four young women, aged 21 to 24, first convinced the UPPA to provide them with seven small plots of land scattered around the campus: two at the foot of the Arts building, two next to the Centrifugeuse, two opposite the university cafeteria and one at the entrance of the library. Almost 300 m² in total.

The first plots were plowed on March 18, 2020, with the precious help of Baloo, a magnificent draft horse. Three days later, the ganivelle fences supplied by Polesello were installed. A choice that is as aesthetic as it is sustainable. On March 30, seedlings in mini clumps and seeds by Végétal Local were sown under a beautiful spring sun near the wooden habitats made with the MJC Berlioz. Today, the meadows are blooming and the first bees are already beginning to collect the sweet nectar, their legs laden with small balls of pollen to feed their larvae in the wooden shelters.

“We now have to maintain these spaces, to establish new ones on the other campuses of the UPPA and to undertake awareness actions through the installation of educational panels, the organization of conferences or practical workshops.”

A call for general mobilization

Eighteen months after this crazy night of the E2S UPPA student challenge from November 7 to 8, 2019, which signs the real birth act of the Bee 'O' Top project, the operation is undoubtedly a great achievement. This success is due to the perseverance of the students, to UPPA's willingness to invest in them, but also to the mobilization of many public, private and associative partners.

Supported by the student association L'Arrosoir, Bee 'O' Top has benefited from a grant of €7436 within the framework of the “Projets Jeunes 64”, the help of the Liken collective, the know-how of the MJC Berlioz, the expertise of the Ecocène association  for the realization of the pedagogical panels and the actions of sensitization, as well as the benevolence of the Polesello  and Semence Nature companies. “Not to mention Simon Caubet, from the CEN (Conservatory of natural areas), who helped us a lot on the scientific aspect of the project; the Maison du Jardinier (Garderner's House), which played a key role in coordinating the various contacts; Bruno Charlier, teacher-researcher at UPPA, who accompanied us throughout the project; and all the students who helped out,” adds Émilie.

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