Our students are passionate about their environment and are often asking how we can be more biodiversity-friendly. The above policies and procedures have all been informed by student projects both inter- and extra-curricular, including:
- Hedgehogs - studying hedgehog and invertebrate populations on University land – this project changed our hedge planting and pruning practices
- Insects - The effects of native tree species on insect diversity – this project changed our tree planting practices to use 100% native species, particularly hornbeam and silver birch which were found to be best for insect diversity and numbers (this project won a national award in 2018 for research with impact: student)
- Trees - Carbon sequestration of trees on our University estate – this project provided a calculator that enabled us to ascertain the exact carbon absorption of each tree we own and found that our trees offset 6% of the University’s current carbon footprint (this project has been shortlisted in 2019 for a national award for research with impact: student).
Our students actively contribute to our biodiversity work through their enthusiasm and we often partner with them on projects such as:
- Birds - looking at the use of bird feeders and whether they support bird diversity on campus or just help certain species and not the ones who might perhaps need it most.
- Plants - there is a documented mismatch between warmer autumns meaning pollinators may survive for longer, but without flowers lasting until autumn they may not have the resources they need. This project looks at which flowers best support autumn pollinators and hence could be used more throughout the campus.
- Green space – a team of Maths students are developing novel methodology using calculus to accurately measure our green spaces.
- Lighting – completing an environmental impact assessment by assessing baseline lighting levels and carrying out bat surveys to see how lighting is having an impact on the environment.