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cepezed on mini-safari

Lucas van der Wee

A mini-safari is not a small expedition but rather concerns finding small animals and biodiversity. On Saturday 17 June, cepezed found, among others, a pseudoscorpion, puffer spider and mirror beetle on safari in the neighbourhood. The complete catch was then extensively studied under the microscope in a laboratory set up in our office for the day.

insects in the city
Who live in the garden, water and air around a building? To learn more about biodiversity around buildings, Taxon Expeditions has been invited to cepezed. The day starts with a lecture by Iva Njunjić about the evolution of insects in the city. After the lecture she guides and interprets the catch together with three colleagues. The four biologists each have an expertise: spiders, snails and beetles, water and backyards. The research area this Saturday is the garden of the International Student House, not far from our office.

shake bag
The garden of the International Student House turns out to be the ideal environment to train our catching skills with a scoop net. Designed by Buro Lubbers, it leaves room for different water levels and for 'windblown' plants, making it rich in biotopes. Of the building complex, a 2017 design by cepezed, the most striking feature is the corten steel facade. This is where, during the safari, spiders are 'knocked out', falling to the ground on a round screen. Snails and beetles are caught in the garden with a 'shake bag', in which they are separated from dead leaves. Water creatures are fished out with a landing net.

Oliver Hadi, structural engineer at cepezed, finds the catch 'surprisingly biodiverse'. The safari inspires him, so he says. 'We do pay attention to biodiversity in our designs, but as architects we tend to focus on nesting boxes. While the birds and bats that those are meant for, also need to eat. They live off the insects that live on the green roofs and in the green spaces around the building. The choice of materials can also make a lot of difference to the amount of insects.'

Lucas van der Wee
Lucas van der Wee
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