Beer and biodiversity

This week I’m sharing an example of how a group of Irish post-grad students attempted to raise public awareness of biodiversity.

A little while ago, a colleague of mine returned from a trip Ireland with three gorgeous beer mats decorated with pictures of animals and a biodiversity fact. Intrigued, I looked into the story behind the beer mats. The three beer mats pictured below are part of a set of four that were designed and distributed by a group of doctoral candidates at Trinity College Dublin. Their aim was to raise awareness of biodiversity and the daily benefits we gain from it, and they did it by putting facts printed on beer mats under the noses of people visiting pubs around Dublin.

biodiversity beer mat back
One side of the beer mat features an interesting fact about biodiversity
The other side has a fun safe drinking message – know your limits!

The mats feature a biodiversity fact, for example, ‘It takes at least four bees to produce the apples to make your pint of cider!’ The mats also include a safe drinking message such as, ‘The pen-tailed shrew can drink continuously and not get drunk. Everyone has different limits – know yours.’ The launch of the beer mats was accompanied by a series of pop-up talks where the students presented short, informative talks to the people drinking in the pub. Together the talks and beer mats aimed to spark conversations about biodiversity and if people wanted to know more, an address for a  website set up by the students was printed on the mat along with a QR code.

I’ve seen beer mats used to advertise health warnings in other countries, but this was the first time I had seen them used to communicate science facts. I think these beer mats are fun and eye-catching so I hope they have sparked conservations as the students intended. I know I’ll be keeping the ones I have!

If you have ever used beer mats to communicate science information, or seen another great example of it being done, do let me know in the comments below.

Find out more about the biodiversity in our lives project at their WordPress site or at their Facebook page.


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