I had a unique insight into industry and developed my plant knowledge

Landscape Architecture student Elise Strommegjerde Aure
Elise Strommegjerde Aure
Undergraduate student
MLA Landscape Architecture
A Workplace Insights bursary saw Elise researching bee-friendly plants, at a friendly and environmentally focussed practice
Landscape Architecture student Elise Strommegjerde Aure
Elise spent two weeks at DSA Environment and Design in Nottingham

Tell us a bit about your internship

My placement was at DSA Environment and Design, who wanted me to help them find plants that can improve bee habitats. I conducted a research project, Plants for Bees, which resulted in an extensive list of bee-friendly plants that DSA can use in future projects, to increase colourfulness as well as biodiversity.

At the end of the placement, I presented the findings and methodology to the entire team.

What did you discover?

The findings from the project are interesting and there are many factors playing into what plants bees prefer. For example, what type of bee it is: is it a mining bee, or maybe a bumblebee?

Bees with different body forms prefer different flowers. I saw that some colours, like purple, are liked more than other colours, and single flowers rather than double flowers are preferred. Also, whether flowers are 'native' or not is not that much of a big deal.

There were many findings from this project and the list is still used by DSA (and by myself!)

You received funding from Workplace Insights. How did you get involved in the scheme?

I received an email from the University about applying for an Easter Internship. I thought I would apply, to get some new knowledge and prepare myself for my Year-In-Practice. I sent an application about my motivations and I was contacted by the University a few weeks later saying that I was successful in my application.

I got in touch with DSA from there on, and had an online intro call saying hi to them!

Landscape Architecture student Elise Strommegjerde Aure
Elise presented her research into bee-friendly plants to the practice

What skills or knowledge have you gained through the scheme?

Although my placement only lasted for two weeks, I developed a lot of research skills.

At our intro meeting, I told them about how I wanted to develop my plant knowledge. DSA took this into consideration right away and proposed the Plants for Bees project.

Working in their studio, I conducted research and presented findings to a member of the team to get feedback and guidance. At the end of the placement, I presented my findings, helping me to develop my presentation and verbal communication skills.

Everyone in team had very individual backgrounds, as well as ideas about what parts of Landscape Architecture interest them. Yet we all agreed that ecology and design are key.

Elise Ingrid Aure

What were the main differences between working in practice and working at University?

Both working in practice and working at University are essential for Landscape Architecture and contribute to learning.

University work is normally more idealistic and theoretical: it lets us stretch our creativity and create those imaginary projects that can be whatever we want them to be. The ideas that we develop at University get brought into our practice projects, where they have a dose of reality!

Being at DSA, I got a look into their projects, which were really varied and ecology-focused. I had discussions with the team about the current challenges but also the successes of Landscape Architecture in the UK. It offered me a unique insight into the discipline which I hadn't felt I had seen at University yet.

What was your personal highlight?

My personal highlight was getting an insight into working in industry. DSA is a friendly group of people, and I am glad I had my first placement experience with them.

Everyone in the DSA team had very individual backgrounds, as well as ideas about what part of Landscape Architecture interests them, yet we all agreed that ecology and design are key.

I have been interested in zero/low waste for a while, and I appreciated how the DSA team were composting food, recycling, reusing sheets of paper and much more.

I had a unique experience in the DSA studio, located in a lovely part of Nottingham. If you are looking for a placement that cares about the planet - DSA would be a really good choice!

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