Nature in Tampere University Campuses

Tags: Forest

Author: Song Tran

Don’t take the beauty of nature surrounding you for granted!.

Spending most of the time in the university as a student, yet you may not notice that you’re surrounded by a pretty diverse green land right in your campus. On top of that, it’s not a built-in resource, it has been created, grown and taken care by a lot of human’s hands.

Starting from last year, 2019, in Tampere University City Centre (Kalevantie) Campus, the Campus Nature Project has been contributing to the biodiversity not only in the university campus but also for the urban landscape of the city of Tampere. The project is funded by the board of Tampere University City Centre Campus and a Finnish company who owns most of the university’s buildings. However, the key people who make the project happen is a group of researchers led by Anna Heikkinen, Faculty of Management and Business at Tampere University. With the background of Urban Nature and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the sustainability development mindset, she has been coordinating in many activities and sub-projects to build the biodiversity nature in the city as well as the university campus, within the scope of the Campus Nature Project.

The main goals of the Campus Nature Project are to enhance biodiversity in the university campus and more importantly, to create new opportunities for learning, doing research, incorporating the nature into the students’ life on campus.

Let’s have a walk around the City Centre Campus of Tampere University and embrace the beauty of nature and green land.

Photo by Jere Nieminen

Besides the group of researchers, there have been plenty of works that involved students as well. It’s so surprisingly amazing to know how much the workload getting done in just a one-year project. During the summer 2019, there was a summer course organized by Tampere University in order to engage students to participate in the Campus Nature Project. There were ten individual students working on three small projects that related to the meadows at Pinni A and Pinni B buildings, the green roof, and the information generations and communications to promote the Campus Nature Project among Tampere University campuses. As a result, the students have been committed to the project itself and they are still taking care of the meadows and green roofs.

Furthermore, the area behind the main building, which is under renovated, created other chances for student to contribute to the project. Also in the summer 2019, there was a team of students working on the design of the area’s visibility after the renovation. A lot of creative ideas had been coming up that makes it difficult to the university to choose the best option. In the autumn semester, together twenty people, including students and university’s staff, sowed more seeds to the meadows. The job was done in just an afternoon!

At the earlier stage, the university wanted to plant more pieces which are originally from Finland and they received a great support from students. The students called out all the companies in Finland who sell plants and seeds to ask for available pieces. Then, they looked for the information of the origins of every piece. After sorting out, the students delivered a list of “native” pieces that are sold by Finnish companies. It was amazingly well done, isn’t it?

Even though Nature Campus is a one-year project, the biodiversity and ecological development is still going on. The university needs more people, especially students, to invest more efforts to protect the nature in the campuses, as well as to remain and keep the project goes on!

Message from Anna Heikkinen, the project leader: “In the end, our main goal is to create more opportunities for learning, teaching and connecting the nature in the campus with students and other people living around the area. Therefore, if someone (students) would like to organize something new to the project, we will be really happy to collaborate. We’re open to all innovative ideas and projects. We want to use the campus in the sustainability development.”
Contact information: anna.l.heikkinen@tuni.fi

Other than that, every student can contribute to the project by spreading out the Campus Nature Project’s information to your fellows, colleagues, friends or anyone you know. Sending a constructive or encouraging feedback to the team and become their source of motivation is another way to help. Moreover, don’t forget to check your tuni mailbox frequently! They might need extra support from you to take care of the plants and flowers, watering and sowing the seeds.

Don’t hesitate to take actions if there are things that would need your supporting hands. It would be an enjoyable and meaningful memory in your student’s life, I believe.

Further resources:
- Business to Nature project’s webpage. Business to Nature is a “mother project” of Campus Nature Project.
- Enhancing campus biodiversity with students and staff and other campus users. Heikkinen, A. & Nieminen J., Nordic Sustainable Campus Network blog. Published 13.5.2019.
- Open source book: Hybrid Environments for Universities.