The University aims to : ‘Enhance biodiversity and incorporate biodiversity in environmental management, creating new opportunities for wildlife on campus wherever possible’ - University of Worcester Sustainability Policy.

Biodiversity Strategy      

A close up shot of yellow fungus

The Biodiversity Strategy outlines how the University intends to meet its Policy commitment for biodiversity on its campuses. We have already made great progress in implementing this Policy commitment.

Strategic Biodiversity Management Group  meets up to four times a year to drive forward action to manage and enhance biodiversity at the University. This includes staff from the Sustainability Department, Academic Departments, Grounds, students from the Nature Society and external organisations.

Biodiversity targets

Biodiversity SMART targets for 2021/22

Our target for this year is:

  • Increase wildflower areas on St Johns campus by 5% to include areas of annual ‘cornfield’ species, perennial grassland species, and woodland species by April 2022.

Some examples of how are we going to achieve this target?

  • Implement actions in the university Biodiversity Action Plan to. See for full details: http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/biodiversity.html
  • To obtain additional funding from the Natural Networks scheme to increase biodiversity on St John’s campus. Targets are to:

           1) Increase the area of botanically enriched habitat by 5% on St John’s campus.

           2) Increase the number of artificial nesting sites (boxes) for birds by 50% by April 2022.

  • Gain Gold Hedgehog Friendly Campus accreditation status by September 2022.

Biodiversity Action Plan

The University’s Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) implements the commitments set out in this Biodiversity Strategy as part of the University’s ISO14001:2015 Environmental Management System. The BAP focuses on ground level action to take biodiversity management to the next level at the University and create an exemplar of best practice for the Further and Higher Education Sector. The University is also spearheading progress with driving forward biodiversity management.

Sustainable Environments Research Group (SERG)

The Sustainable Environments Research Group (SERG) was launched in 2020 to bring together colleagues from across the University to deliver excellent research that aligns with the theme of “Sustainable Futures” identified in the University’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2020-25, as an Area of Challenge.

The creation of this new interdisciplinary research group has strengthened the capacity for effective research collaboration and has increased the potential for colleagues to engage with research that fundamentally brings benefits to people and the planet.

Sustainable Environments” encapsulates any situation where there is potential for environmental impacts to be mitigated and for environmental benefits to be achieved through positive actions in both urban and rural settings. This includes the conservation of a single species through to the management of whole ecosystems enabling subsistence farmers to sustain livelihood benefits. It also encompasses new approaches to food production, the management of natural resources, and the influence of infrastructure on human health and well-being.

New Cornfield Wildflower Area

University lectures and students holding spades and plants in a garden

In March 2022, the University’s student Nature Society worked with Grounds staff to sow a wildflower seed mix over an area of 500 square metres on St John’s Campus to establish a new wildflower strip.

In contrast to the cornfield wildflower areas, this strip has been sown with 22 different perennial wildflower species, including knapweed, wild teasel, oxeye daisy, kidney vetch, field scabious, selfheal, red campion and bird’s-foot trefoil. The area will therefore provide a different range of resources for wildlife, supporting numerous invertebrates including bees and butterflies, but also small mammals and birds.

This wildflower initiative will not only boost biodiversity on St John’s campus, it will also reduce the University’s carbon footprint through less mowing at the site, and enhance the health and wellbeing of students and staff while on campus, helping to meet three of the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

Read the full story here.

Grounds Maintenance 

The Grounds Team manages the University playing fields and amenity spaces. Their work also includes the enhancement of trees, hedgerows and habitat availability. Working closely alongside colleagues in academic departments who utilise the open spaces for conservation and education and the Nature Student Society who amongst other things assist in the recording and monitoring of biodiversity on campus. 

The Sand martin Box located at (Berrows House)

Sand Martin Nesting Boxes installed at City Campus

Sand martins nest in deep cavities which they usually excavate from high river banks, but in the City of Worcester they have been successfully breeding between gaps in the stones of the railway arch! With guidance from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, The University of Worcester has now installed 12 artificial nests on Bishop Bosel Hall of Residence in the hope of providing additional nesting opportunities close to the River Severn.

Student projects

The Nature Society, supported by sustainability and academic staff, is an active student group that carries out a wide body of surveying, monitoring and research activities alongside training future students to continue their legacy. Their valuable research is used to inform future management practices.

For example, in getting involved with the initiative of how to be hedgehog friendly

Habitats and species are being actively managed by the University to enhance biodiversity and improve the working and studying environment. Biodiversity has also been a central consideration in the establishing the grounds of The Hive Library, History and Customer Centre for students and the public, established in partnership with Worcestershire County Council.    

 

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