We worked with the environmental researcher, Hollie Blaydes, to communicate her research into the potential for solar parks to become habitats for pollinators. Hollie's research was reported on in the Guardian in December 2021.
Pollinators like bees, flies, beetles, butterflies and moths perform a number of jobs critical for human society and ecosystems. Perhaps most importantly, pollinators contribute to food security and 75% of crops depend on them. Wild plants, which provide resources and habitats that support other biodiversity, also rely on pollinators. However, pollinators are threatened and worrying population declines have been observed in the UK and further afield. Numerous factors are driving these trends, with many linked to habitat loss as agriculture has intensified. This has affected pollinators through diminishing their resources (used for food, reproduction and shelter) and fragmenting their habitat.
Whilst land use change and intensification for agriculture has been detrimental, other land use changes offer opportunities. For example, there is potential to enhance pollinator populations through harnessing land use change for solar parks (fields of solar panels mounted above the ground).
This video aims to communicate Hollie's research to a range of audiences and increasing understanding of solar park potential to play a role in pollinator conservation including the solar industry and those working with pollinators, such as ecologists and farmers, all of which do not often associate solar parks with pollinator conservation.
An animation will ensure these groups are more aware of this opportunity and reach bodies that could help change policy and practice, helping to ensure the sustainable deployment of solar parks. Furthermore, this will be an effective way of raising awareness of upcoming research findings among such groups and may prompt others to contact Hollie, informing future work and facilitating collaboration.
This is one of the six animations we created for Envision PhD researchers in 2021. In autumn 2020 Envision ran a competition where candidates submitted a brief for an animated film. The winners were selected by a judging panel and the prize was to have an animation produced about their research work.