In the urban jungle of Parc des Portes de Paris, companies are cultivating participatory science

In the urban jungle of Parc des Portes de Paris, companies are cultivating participatory science

“Did you lose something in the grass?” From now on, when corporate employees come to the Parc des Portes de Paris to enjoy the tranquility of the urban jungle located at the heart of this 44-hectare high campus in Aubervilliers (93), north of the capital, they may be surprised to see small groups of about a dozen employees leaning on The flowers.

Immersed in this space in which the office real estate company Icade has replanted some 1,500 trees where former warehouses once stood, these attentive observers are not actually searching for their lost keys, nor for a lost piece of jewelry, but for a whole treasure of the same thing: pollinators circling among the violets, clover and comfrey. And even sage.

8,000 employees have been invited to join Pauses Nature

Over the course of a year, Icade invited nearly 8,000 employees from startups, SMEs and large groups on its site to contribute to participatory science programmes, through workshops called Nature breaks. This is a first for a private company, Henri Chapoutier, head of sustainable development at Foncière d'Icade – which initiated the project with its partner CDC Biodiversité – tells GEO.

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Thus, it is presented to employees, “Three programs consistent with excellent marks for biodiversity” : Spipoll, BirdLab and Mission Hérisson, organized by the National Museum of Natural History, the Sorbonne University and the League for the Protection of Birds, are dedicated respectively to pollinators and the winter behavior of birds and small mammals.

“At the end of the year, the museum sends us the results – allowing us to adjust our practices if necessary. For example, if butterfly Rarely, we will plant a specific flower to help it come back.”“, notes Henri Chapoutier.

Valuable data on urban biodiversity

This afternoon, as this stretch of urban forest receives the green light to open to the public, a few meters away, Marie José takes part in a nature break for the first time. At her side, Clement Roussel, Director of Ecological Transformation at Foncière d'Icade, guides her to download the SPIPOLL (photographic monitoring of pollinating insects) app.

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“I like insects more or less”meets a German collection employee, who will spend about twenty minutes taking photos of every little creature that lands or climbs on the flowering plant she has chosen to observe – “Sinfon”“, explains Melanie, who works for the company responsible for the green spaces, and came to support today's nature break.

Marie-José's photographs, as well as her answers to a series of simple questions, will help identify the species immortalized by her smartphone. Thus providing researchers with valuable data on urban biodiversity.

An urban forest accessible to visitors near Paris

In addition to the staff, Albertivilla residents can also participate in these programmes, by following the instructions on the educational boards. Because the urban forest is also available to them during business hours – as well as to passing visitors. Parc des Portes de Paris is served by metro line 12, a bus network and bicycle paths.

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Marie José finished entering her notes into the app. Would you participate in a nature break again? “Yes, I found that interesting.”Emphasizes. “It gives us a new perspective on things, and I discovered an insect I didn't know about.”

“It's extraordinary: the more we discover, the more we want to know.”Henri Chapoutier confirms.

As Benjamin Franklin said, 'Tell me, I forgot. You teach me, I remember. You engage me, and I learn. “It is precisely this final step that we are dealing with today.”“, says GEO Benjamin Ficquet, responsible property and operations manager at Foncière d'Icade. The ultimate goal will be to no longer have to organize these nature breaks. In other words, for the companies present in the complex and the employees themselves to address the issues and the tools at their disposal.

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A ground bee foraging on a cinnamon flower, in an urban forest in Parc Icade des Portes de Paris. Nastassia Michaels

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