'Life is everywhere, even in the most developed of spaces!' The Long Listen Podcast with Ian Boyd & Joe Redston

Perfect Friday listening.. or anytime listening in fact! Our naturalist/ecologist Ian Boyd’s interview for Joe Redston's podcast series covers the collective work here at Artecology, Arc and our not-for-profit The Common Space, and answers all your questions with wide-angled, practical advice on nature, wildlife, urban conservation, plus community regeneration.

Listen out for…

* What's a naturalist and why we believe nature engagement and outreach is all-important… when bugs aren't insects and the extraordinary lightbulb moment that even a hint of taxonomy sparks in a schoolyard...

* How can we gain maximum ecological value from the built world - understanding punctuation, wildlife’s territory and travel plans...

* The Three-Pot Planet or how to create your own ecosystem (think edible, niche and caterpillars not butterflies!) And much more!


Thanks for the visit Joe!

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BBC Countryfile meets Artecology

See presenter Margherita Taylor take to the waves with our ecologist Ian Boyd in order to visit our artificial rock pools at the Wightlink Ferry terminal at Fishbourne Isle of Wight where she discovers how our pools are throwing a lifeline to threatened marine habitat. Margherita also visits our studio in Sandown Bay to see how Nigel George makes artificial rockpools (Vertipools). Follow Margherita to meet artist Hannah George and see how she helps Hannah to create a handmade BioTile as part of our on-going research into bioreceptive materials, textures and designs.

Huge thanks to the BBC Countryfile team for showing an interest in our work and for giving us the chance to talk directly to a national audience about a global problem that we’re working hard to create solutions for.


See this whole Countryfile episode featuring stories from across the wonderful Isle of Wight on BBC Iplayer here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bvgw3r/countryfile-isle-of-wight

What every Sustainability Manager should know about biodiversity....

Ian Boyd Ecologist and co-founder of Artecology is here to help!

What do we mean by ‘Natural Capital’? Click here…..

Biodiversity has become a handy, all-purpose eco-tag. It might be swapped as if synonymous with ‘wildlife’ or ‘the natural world’ or used even more generously to denote the environment at large. And none of that is so much wrong as less practically useful than it might be.

Biodiversity is fundamentally about variety, the richness of flora and fauna that exists and interacts in a place and at a time. This isn’t a very different definition to the more general applications, but it does focus attention on the ideas of species richness and habitat complexity, tools to build more sustainable spaces for people and wildlife alike. Managing for biodiversity IS managing for sustainability and yet there are few examples of corporate strategy that treat the subject in this way.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, and the fact that it sounds idyllic is testament to the amazing job we have done of convincing ourselves that we are not actually a part of biodiversity, that we are not in fact biological organisms at all, and that we exist above and beyond any sort of functioning, or misfunctioning, ecosystem.

A reappraisal of biodiversity in sustainability practice plugs us usefully back into the ecosystems we share with the organic and inorganic world. We can build better habitats for humans and shape places that are better for people, when they are also better for wildlife (because people are wildlife). The UK’s 25-year Environment Plan is already bending policy in this direction and there are good reasons to be ahead of its commitment to change.

The more interesting, diverse and complex an urban design for biodiversity, the richer the suite of animals and plants that results, and the more immediate and lasting the effects on the social, economic and environmental performance of buildings and the urban volume between. Ecological design and management gathers up and combines the central threads of the sustainability agenda, in the management of wind, water and heat, in adaptations to climate change, in the capture and cycling of nutrients and pollutants, the reuse of materials for biologically favourable outcomes, and ultimately in the mental and physical wellbeing of tenants, residents, businesses and communities in the places we inhabit. By using ecological leverage and demonstrating gains for biodiversity, we can be growing human resilience and creating a more sustainable living and working environment.

Ian Boyd

What are 'Nature-Based Solutions'?

Have you heard anyone refer to ‘Nature-Based Solutions’ yet? If you haven’t it’s probably just a matter of time before you do! ‘Ecosystem Services’ is perhaps a more common term but what does it actually mean?

Our ecologist and co-founder Ian Boyd explains here what they mean in simple terms…..

Creativity Crisis in schools. what can Artecology do About It?

Last year HRH The Prince of Wales spoke out saying that he was “very concerned” about the lack of creativity and arts being taught in schools, and that in his opinion organisations and government must collaborate in order to address the problem. At a time when there is no funding for art materials in primary schools and no time in the day for standalone art lessons, our co-founder Nigel George talks here about his own worries for the creativity crisis in schools and explains how Artecology actively works to help solve the problem.

Artecology values art and science equally and believes the UK education system must do the same if it is to produce a nation of resilient innovators fit to cope with, and thrive in, a fast changing world.

Discovery Bay

It’s National Marine Week this week and so perfect timing for the start of our latest Discovery Bay research project which got under way today.  Our two latest work experience students, Christ the King A-level pupils, Lizzie and Alanah met us out on Horse Ledge, Shanklin at low tide early this morning starting with Rockpool ID practice, looking for, and discovering patches, of the rare seaweed Peacock’s tail, a key conservation target.  We also spotted a Hairy crab, another rare find so great to see it at home at Horse Ledge.  We walked on to Hope Beach, looking at the distribution of sandstone reef features before taking a quick look at the ongoing PhD research with Glasgow University on Hope Beach groyne where together we’re experimenting with man-made textures and their effects on marine colonisation.

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Alanah and Lizzie’s task this summer is to help Artecology and Arc map the reef features in each of the 54 individual bays along the defended coast of the Bay, identifying any areas of Peacock’s tail as they go.

This latest student project illustrates again how our homebase, Sandown Bay provides tremendous opportunities for higher education research into marine ecology, coastal management and big global issues, while on a local level, it helps Island students find topics of interest and inspiration close to home.  Both Lizzie and Alanah are looking at their university choices as we speak and it’s brilliant that the natural world and Sandown Bay can shape, spark and inform their decisions.

Students Lizzie and Alanah at Horse Ledge, Shanklin at the start of their project.JPG

News update: Wightlink celebrates Vertipool survey results

Latest news from Wightlink:

'Pioneering artificial rockpools (or Vertipools) attached to the side of Wightlink’s harbour in Fishbourne last year are already attracting a fascinating range of Solent marine life.

A survey in June 2018 found 29 species including crabs, barnacles and sea squirts living inside the triangular-shaped structures. They are covered by the sea at high water and can be seen when the tide falls.

Isle of Wight  consultancy Artecology designed and installed six of the structures in 2017 as part of Wightlink’s £45million investment in a new ship for the Portsmouth route and improved port facilities.

Wightlink’s newly appointed Environmental Officer Nicola Craig joined Bournemouth University marine biologist Dr Alice Hall and Ian Boyd and Claire Hector from Artecology on the short voyage on a launch from the neighbouring Royal Victoria Yacht Club to the harbour wall to view the vertipools at close range

“As a marine biologist myself, I was amazed at the biodiversity in our vertipools and I’m proud to learn that Wightlink has been the first company to install them,” says Nicola. “I’m sure most of our staff and customers have no idea of the richness of marine life beneath the waves.”

Ecologist Ian Boyd said: “ Vertipools are a true Island innovation and it’s marvellous to see them being deployed with such effect right here at home. Artecology is all about creating a built environment more favourable for wildlife and Wightlink is helping to do just that.”

Dr Alice Hall will be monitoring the vertipools twice a year to keep track of the different species that inhabit them “The Vertipools at Fishbourne have colonised very well and are supporting a wide range of species which would otherwise be absent from the concrete structure. They are also providing a refuge for animals such as crabs and sea spiders when the tides falls. I look forward to monitoring them further to see how they change and develop over time”.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield spoke about the company’s green initiatives at the Isle of Wight’s inaugural Environmental Conference at Cowes. “We operate ferries in some of the most beautiful waters of the country and do our best to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We are delighted to provide a location for the vertipools and look forward to seeing how the project develops.”'


Thanks to Karen Woods at Wightlink for this report on our first commercial application of the pools and part of a partnership project with Arc Consulting, Environment Agency, ABPMer and Wightlink.