Tree-mendous news – over £24,000 raised for local charity Hospsicare!

For the third year running, the University’s Grounds Team have teamed up with local charity Hospiscare to recycle Christmas trees and support terminally ill people and their families.

Volunteers collected trees from households across Devon in exchange for a £10 donation. The trees were taken to the University’s Streatham Campus and chipped by the Grounds Team. The chippings will be used as mulch for the shrub beds on our campuses.

More than 2,000 Christmas trees were collected by 85 volunteers and chipped by the Grounds Team – raising over £24,000 for Hospiscare.

Laura Robertson, Fundraising Projects Manager at Hospiscare said: “This initiative simply wouldn’t be possible without the generous support from our local community and organisations like the University of Exeter donating their time and invaluable services. The money raised from our tree collection and recycling campaign will help us support more local patients and families living with terminal illness, who need us now more than ever.”

Dave Evans, Head of Grounds Operations at the University of Exeter said: “The University’s Grounds Team feel privileged to support Hospiscare once again through the Christmas tree recycling scheme. It’s been a fantastic effort by all involved and we’re proud to be able to provide for our community in Devon, at a time when it is needed most.”

The partnership between the University of Exeter and Hospiscare is in its third year, and together, they have recycled over 4,500 trees with the scheme raising over £55,000 for the charity since it began.

Join Us for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Join the Sustainability Team on Friday 27 January for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch on Streatham Campus.

Weatherproof clothing advised. Feel free to bring drinks, snacks etc.

Binoculars would be handy, but you can take part without.

If you are a keen birdwatcher/ornithologist and would be happy to lead on identifying birds, please let Chris know.

Meet @ 9.30am outside Camper Cafe, Queens Building.

Depending on numbers, a bird count will take place at three different locations. If the weather forecast is awful, you will be emailed by 8pm on Thursday 26 January to cancel.

Email Chris to sign up or for further details.

Collect Your Free Logs!

The Grounds Team have available logs which are free for University staff and students, on a first come first served basis. You can collect them from Car Park B on Streatham Campus on Friday 16th December between 9am-12pm and on Tuesday 20th December between 12pm-3pm. There will also be another collection date in the New Year.

Each person is able to take one load of up to half a cubic metre, on presentation of a staff or student University Card.

Please note that the logs have been outside, so for safety purposes, will need appropriate drying and seasoning time before use.

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