“De Wilde Tuin” (Wilding the garden) at Tilburg University
Tilburg University and Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad have set up a crowdsourcing project called De Wilde Tuin (Wilding the garden). As part of this project, garden owners throughout the Netherlands will let nature take its course on a small patch of their garden and discover the effects of wilding on the garden and on themselves. Tilburg University has joined the initiative and is wilding a patch of its gardens on campus.
A small patch of campus garden will be left untended for a full cycle of four seasons: no weeding, no clearing of fallen leaves and branches, no sprinkling, and so on. We are very curious to find out what the effects of wilding on this patch of garden will be. Will it become an oasis for everything that grows, blooms, hums, flies, or scurries in the garden, or will it just be a dull and messy-looking piece of wilderness?
Sophie Vrijdag, philosophy student, will monitor the patch of wilderness on our campus. Using simple tools and her own senses, Sophie will discover how the wilderness burgeons. Sophie shares her enthusiasm for nature and for her contribution to this project:
"I find nature truly fascinating. Ever since I was little, my father and I have frequently explored the woods with bird and plant books. I walk the park every day and that makes me so happy. Also, my room is full of plants (currently seventeen!) and I have a vegetable garden at my parents' house.
I think it’s wonderful to now help scientists with something I am passionate about. The concept of naturalization greatly appeals to me, so I am eager to learn what the project findings will be."
Each season has its own theme and experiences will be shared. Tilburg University researchers will analyze the data that participants share and the newspaper will report on the project, using personal stories, photos, and “hard” data on plant and soil life. Updates will be posted to this web page.
This project has received financial support from the “Science communication by scientists: Rewarded!” pilot fund of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).