Hospiscare Christmas Tree Recycling

 

We are delighted to be supporting Hospiscare’s Christmas Tree Recycling scheme again this year.

If you live in Exeter, Exmouth, Honiton, Tiverton, Sidmouth or Ottery St Mary there’s an easy way to recycle your Christmas tree and help local people with a terminal diagnosis at the same time.

In return for a donation to Hospiscare, volunteers will collect your Christmas tree from your home on Friday 13th or Saturday 14th January. The trees will be brought to the University’s Streatham Campus where our Grounds Team will shred them. The clippings will be used to improve public rights of way and distributed as mulch around our grounds.

Registration closes on Sunday 8th January. For more information and to register, visit https://www.hospiscare.co.uk/events/christmas-tree-recycling/

Bug Hotels Expert Input – BBC Bitesize Article

We are very proud that one of our Gardeners, Colin Brown, has shared his expert knowledge of bug hotels with the BBC which has been included in the BBC BITESIZE article “Four hacks to help our hibernating animal friends this autumn”.

Full article can be read at http://bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/z4dq6rd

Well done Colin!

 

M-arb-ellous Upcycled Bench

We have a strong sustainable and biodiversity ethos within the University and the Grounds Team arboristrists practise this as much a possible by regularly creating habitat piles, building bird and bat boxes and protective fencing for new saplings from fallen branches and timber and leaving tree stumps as sanctuaries for insects and wildlife.

Their latest sustainable project was handcrafting a bench from a Quercus rubra (Red Oak) tree that failed in one of our valleys recently. This upcycled bench has been placed by Reed Pond under a Cupressus macrocarpa tree, which provides all day shade, and where it also has great views of the pond.

Upcycled bench

View of Reed pond from the upcycled bench

Upcycled bench is in all day shade, making it a cooling calming spot to relax

Seed Collection Event – Wednesday 9th November 2022

Would you like to be involved in growing the next generation of trees on our grounds and learn about our wide variety of tree species? Then this innovative and exciting event is for you!

Please join our Grounds Team for a Seed Collection Event on Wednesday 9th November 2022 to collect seeds from veteran trees on Streatham Campus. The seeds will grow our next generation of trees, ensuring our beautiful campus continues to support biodiversity in the face of climate change.

You will learn about our wide variety of tree species, the current threats facing our tree population and the importance of seed collection in protecting the future of healthy and biodiverse woodlands.

Please wear suitable shoes and bring waterproofs (if it rains). Gardening gloves will be provided, as you will be picking through seeds and leaves.

Meet outside Reed Hall at 10am.

Drought Tolerant Planting

When selecting plants we consider the environment, and plants needing additional regular watering – other than for establishment – are not used. Our aim is to enhance habitats, to encourage year round wildlife activity and introduce adaptability to cope with any impact of the effects of global warming.

Since 2019 we have been using drought tolerant varieties of tender perennials including Rudbeckia, Dahlia and Salvia.

This year the Environment Agency declared droughts across most of the UK including the South West. The photos below, taken this summer, demonstrate how adept these drought tolerant species are to drought conditions with no watering whatsoever!

The Salvia have established here very well, are softly structural and full of colour. In the past this area would have been planted with an annual bedding scheme which can require watering during difficult phases of weather.

Drought tolerant planting at the north east corner of Hatherly Labs

Drought tolerant planting at the north east corner of Hatherly Labs

 

Bird Survey Highlights Spring/Summer 2022

The results of the spring/summer bird surveys carried out by an independent consultant on our campuses during two visits – one in March and one in May – have been received and we wanted to share the highlights.

Streatham Campus

A total of 1,498 birds were recorded during the visits, an increase of 4.4% over the total of 1,435 birds recorded in 2021. 696 of these birds are on the Red and Amber lists.

The the top five species recorded were:

  1. Wood Pigeon (Amber list bird)
  2. Blackbird (Green list bird)
  3. Robin (Green list bird)
  4. Wren (Amber list bird)
  5. Herring Gull (Red list bird)

Birds of Conservation 5 (BOCC5) was published on 1st December 2021 and is the latest assessment of the status of all the bird species that regularly occur in the UK. This assessment indicates that 70 species are of the highest conservation concern and have been placed on the Red list, 103 species have been placed on the Amber list and 72 species on the Green list. The majority of the Red list species are there because of a severe decline in numbers in recent decades, their numbers remain below historical levels or are under threat of global extinction.

The bird surveys (carried out every year in spring/summer and again in winter) have been in place on the Streatham Campus for the last 14 years, during which time some 55 different species have been recorded; of those 55 species currently there are 7 on the Red list and 15 on the Orange list.

A total of 274 (22 species) Birds of Conservation Concern 5 (BOCC5) Red list and Amber list birds were recorded:

Red List

  • Greenfinch
  • Herring Gull
  • House Sparrow
  • Mistle-Thrush
  • Starling
  • Swift
  • Woodcock

Greenfinch

Amber List

  • Black-Headed Gull
  • Bullfinch
  • Dunnock
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Lesser Black-Backed Gull
  • Mallard
  • Moorhen
  • Redwing
  • Rook
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Song Thrush
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Stock Dove
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Wren

Sedge Warbler

Interesting Observation

This breeding season a new Rookery has been established in the tops of tall trees in the Arboretum adjacent to Stocker Road. This is the first record of a Rookery on campus since 2001 when the small and declining Rookery located behind the Catholic Chaplaincy in Glenthorne Road finally disappeared.

Rooks are very sociable birds and you are unlikely to see one on its own; they feed and roots in flocks and nest colonially. Easily confused with the Carrion Crow, the Rook is slightly small with a bare greyish white face, a narrower beak and a peaked head.

Rook

St Luke’s Campus

A total of 274 birds were recorded during the visits and the the top five species recorded were:

  1. Wood Pigeon (Amber list bird)
  2. Herring Gull (Red list bird)
  3. Blackbird (Green list bird)
  4. House Sparrow (Red list bird)
  5. Robin (Green list bird)

The bird surveys (carried out every year in spring/summer and again in winter) have been in place on St Luke’s Campus since 2013, during which time some 29 different species have been recorded.

Robin

The Sunniest Sunflower!

All members of the Grounds Team took part in an in-house Sunflower growing competition this year.

The Sunflowers were grown from seed and were then planted out at the Grounds nursery. Their growth has been very closely monitored over the last few weeks with some of the early front runners fading away.

The competition was strongly fought with a large amount of care and attention lavished on the Sunflowers, with some team members really going the extra mile to encourage growth in some rather unusual ways (singing, playing music and dancing have been reported)!

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the prestigious Sunniest Sunflower 2022 Award, with the tallest and most floriferous Sunflower, is Elliot Smith. Congratulations Elliot!

The Sunniest Sunflower Award was created in-house from fallen timber on campus, which not only makes it sustainable, personal to the team but also economically viable as it cost nothing to create!

The winner, Elliot Smith, next to proudly accepting the Sunniest Sunflower Award

The Sunniest Sunflower Award

Tree-mendous Sustainable Fencing!

Our amazing Arb Team have finished another brilliant sustainable project!

They have used timber from Ash trees that had to be felled due to Ash Dieback and upcycled it to make protective fencing around newly planted trees.

This was all their own work done in-house; felling the trees, cutting the timber, measuring it, fixing and installing the new fences.

A great sustainable and economical use of resources delivered by our skilled, experienced and dedicated Arb Team.

Although we all love the deer we have on campus, they do enjoy eating a lot of plants, flowers and trees and these fences should protect the trees from the deer and their large appetites allowing the trees to grow and flourish.

Green Flag Award 2022-23 Winner!

We are delighted to announce that we have again achieved the prestigious Green Flag Award for both our Streatham Campus and our St Luke’s Campus!

We have successfully retained this award for the twelfth consecutive year for Streatham Campus and for the tenth consecutive year for St Luke’s Campus.

The Award is the mark of a quality park or green space which has achieved the international standards for open space excellence.

The Grounds team work hard throughout the year using their extensive skills and experience to nurture our beautiful grounds and we are extremely proud of this achievement and the wonderful grounds that we have the privilege to work in and enjoy.

University of Exeter campuses re-awarded the coveted Green Flag Award

The University of Exeter’s grounds across three campuses have been ranked among the best parks and green spaces in the country.

The gardens and grounds at the University’s Streatham, St. Luke’s and Penryn campuses are some of the record number of parks and green spaces receiving the Green Flag Award this year as they are recognised as the most beautiful and botanically interesting of any UK university.

The Exeter campuses manage a mature tree stock of around 10,000 trees along with an arboretum, Italianate garden, magnolia lawn, cherry orchards and a national collection of Azara. While it’s Penryn campus, shared by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, Cornwall includes herbaceous beds, sub-tropical planting, a fruit producing orchard, an 18th Century lime avenue and a drive with Pinetum native woodlands and historic rare rhododendrons which were cultivated on the site in the Victorian era. All three of the University’s grounds also feature high-quality sporting facilities for students, staff and visitors.

A committed team works on the grounds and outdoor sports facilities, 365 days a year. The work of the grounds staff includes the care of specialist plant collections, botanical specimen propagation, pot and bedding plant production, sports playing surface maintenance and award-winning floral decoration works.

University of Exeter’s Head of Ground and Operations, David Evans, said: ‘’We are delighted to have secured this honour once again.

‘’We always put sustainability at the core of everything we do and work closely with our colleagues and students to ensure that the grounds are maintained in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible.’’

Oliver Lane, FX Plus Director of Residences and Facilities in Cornwall, said: “We are delighted to have retained this award for a sixth year. It highlights the hard work of our teams and volunteers – both students and staff. Particular thanks should go to Toby Nenning, Grounds and Gardens manager, and Casey Thomas, Head of Facilities Management, and to their teams.

“Both Falmouth University and the University of Exeter are dedicated to sustainability under their Climate Emergency declarations and a key part of this involves supporting green spaces and the biodiversity on our beautiful campus.”

Professor Lisa Roberts, the University of Exeter’s Vice-Chancellor said: ‘’Our stunning grounds are an essential part of what is so special about our university. Our talented grounds team works extremely hard to keep the estate beautiful and accessible while also creating habitats that protect wildlife and the environment. Our beautiful surroundings contribute significantly to the wellbeing of our staff and students and we take great pride in the fact they are as much a home for wildlife as they are for us.

‘’We are proud to have been given the Green Flag award, thanks to the hard work of dedicated colleagues like those in our grounds management team.’’

Keep Britain Tidy’s Accreditation Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making the University of Exeter campuses worthy of a Green Flag Award. It is testament to all the hard work of staff who do so much to ensure that they maintain the high standards demanded by the Award.”

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

A full list of Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces is available here

 

 

Blooming Lovely Wallpaper Installation!

An exciting new wallpaper installation designed and created by Bee Watson, founder of wild hive paper flowers, has been unveiled.

This spectacular wallpaper is inspired by the flora and foliage on the Streatham Campus. The flowers and leaves are all constructed from paper, photographed and then transformed into a repeated pattern.

The creative journey that led to this piece being created included workshops with students and staff and a site tour with the university’s Grounds Team to identify plants and flowering times.

The wallpaper installation is now on display in the Queens Building on Streatham Campus.

Bee Watson said:

“Abso-blooming-lutely thriled to finally reveal what I’ve been  working on for the last couple of months. Our first ever wallpaper installation! I wanted to capture the experience that people have of being greeted by the steep banks of greenery dappled with Rhododendrons, Ferns and Azaleas as they walk up through the campus in late spring / early summer.

It’s been an absolute dream of a project from start to finish. The wallpaper installation is now on display in the Queens Building on Streatham Campus; if you’re in the area go check it out, get a photo in front of it and see if you can lcacte the flowers on campus when they’re in bloom next year.”

Bee Watson proudly revealing her new wallpaper installation