Increasing biodiversity and improving green spaces across our campuses is a clear priority for people across our university community. As part of our Sustainability Sub-Strategy consultation, you had lots of suggestions for ways we could improve our grounds and how we use them and increase biodiversity on our three campuses. We have been taking on board your feedback and wanted to update you with information on what’s available and what we have planned.
You wanted more engagement activities in the grounds and changes to outdoor spaces to include teaching areas and places to have outdoor meetings.
Tree walks during term time around our Colchester Campus, which are a chance to chat to new people and explore the hidden secrets of Wivenhoe Park. You can also access a self-guided parkland tree tour on the find your way app under ‘tours’ or take part in a green space tour for a guided walk or jog around Wivenhoe Park at lunchtimes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when the next one is. The Green Thumbs Society take care of our campus garden, which is behind Wivenhoe House. Speak to the to team to find out how you can join in.
We have plenty of bench areas by the lakes to have 1-2-1's, it’s a great way of getting outside and being creative in nature. Manageable groups are always welcome to make use of outdoor spaces for learning/teaching - do get out and explore the campus to see where you could run some activities.
We’re planning green exercise classes and activities, which will give people more chances to interact with Wivenhoe Park in new and different ways. We will also be introducing signed walking and running routes of differing distances through our green spaces.
You wanted beehives on roofs.
There are already four beehives adjacent to the campus garden.
This is not currently part of our priorities. For health and safety reasons we cannot make space available for beehives on roofs. However, we’re making the most of roofs where we can by adding more solar panels to generate electricity.
You wanted us to rewild our green spaces.
On our Colchester Campus we have 18 major habitats. The grounds of the campus retain relict acidic grassland, which is a scarce habitat type, together with taller grassland, scrub and lakes. These form a complex mosaic of habitats with an extremely rich invertebrate fauna including woodlouse, caterpillars, spiders, moths and butterflies. We also have various insect harborages, hedgehog houses, duck houses and bird boxes.
Developing and implementing a plan to maintain existing habitats and increase areas of biodiversity and ecology across our three campuses including native tree planting, wildflower, and unmown areas, and water and wetland areas.
You wanted to know more about biodiversity across our green spaces.
We’re working on a series of information boards that will inform visitors about the types of flora and fauna that can be found on campus, and we’ll develop walks to help bring this information to life. We’ll provide more regular updates on what our grounds team have been up to across all three campuses on our social media, and through newsletters like Essex Weekly.
We’re particularly proud of our work so far to maintain and enhance our green spaces – and we’ve won the Green Flag Award for Wivenhoe Park five years in a row. We are on a journey of improvement and development; there are many challenges ahead, but also a lot of exciting opportunities. To learn more about our ambitions and progress, visit the sustainability webpages. We will be providing updates on our response to your feedback to the consultation in a series of blogs – please check back regularly to learn more.
We have a dedicated team, in a broad range of roles, contributing to sustainable development across our campuses. We are committed to the promotion of sustainability to a variety of stakeholders, to conserve the local environment for our students, staff, the wider community and our resident wildlife.