The wildflower areas at St Luke’s Campus are looking fantastic.
We have been busy with seed propagation this week in our Estate Services Centre Nursery.
The cuttings are soft-wood material using the techniques of nodal, heel and mallet cuttings.
This important work, of growing plants in-house and planting them on campus and by residences, means that we are reducing our carbon footprint, working within our sustainability practices and reducing costs.
It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week, so we thought it would be a good time to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them, especially as we are spending more time in our gardens at the moment.
There are many simple things we can all do to help hedgehogs:
- Create a log pile that will offer shelter and food.
- Cover drains or deep holes.
- Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden, not only can these harm hedgehogs but also damage their food chain. Use organic methods instead.
- Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden. Ensure boundary fences or walls have a 13cm x 13cm gap in the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
- Keep a corner of your garden wild to offer shelter, protection and natural food for hedgehogs and other wildlife.
- Encourage hedgehogs into your garden, but you should never just move one in from another area, as it may well have a nest of dependent young that you would be condemning to death.
- Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for all wildlife, and food such as hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits for hedgehogs, especially during long dry spells.
- Make or buy a hedgehog home (see plans), this offers a hibernation site safe from predators in the winter. It may also be used as a nesting box for a mother and her hoglets in the warmer months.
- Check areas thoroughly for hedgehogs and other wildlife before strimming or mowing.
- Keep pea netting 22-30cms (9 – 12”) off the ground so hedgehogs can pass under
and plants will grow to the netting.
- Dispose of litter responsibly. Every year hedgehogs are injured by litter and starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish.
- Bonfires offer a tempting home for a hedgehog. Ideally collected materials should be re-sited just before the fire is to be lit, if this is not possible, the base should be lifted up with poles or broom handles (not a fork!) and a torch shone in to look for any wildlife or pets in need of rescue before lighting.
- Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can become trapped in ponds or pools with
sheer sides. Keep water levels topped up, provide a gently sloping edge if possible or place half submerged rocks in the water as an escape for them.
- Finally, take care on the roads, hedgehogs are nocturnal so are often seen out at
night. A hedgehog’s natural defence mechanism is to roll into a ball – this is no
match for a motor vehicle.
British Hedgehog Preservation Society Chief Executive, Fay Vass, said
“Our gardens take up such a lot of habitat, and by getting together with neighbours to ensure hedgehogs have access points and hedgehog friendly features in the garden, we can open up a really useful amount of habitat for them. You could become a Hedgehog Champion for your area at Hedgehog Street – a project run by BHPS and our partners People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Join 70,000 Champions by signing up at www.hedgehogstreet.org – there’s even a Hedgehog Street app you can download from The App Store or Google Play!”
The University’s Grounds Team have purchased a new piece of equipment with the environment in mind. The water based foamstream system deals with moss, algae and weeds without the use of chemicals.
It is proving particularly useful in the historic listed landscape of Reed Hall as there is no risk of damaging the stonework.
The photos below show some of our staff using the new foamstream equipment and the difference achieved in the treated areas.
Our Grounds Sports Team based at Topsham Sports Ground have been busy making bird boxes and bat boxes from spare wooden palettes. These have been put up around the grounds in time for the bird nesting season and the excess ones will be sold at our plant sales.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, the Grounds Sports Team have also created a bug hotel upcycled from a tree that fell during the recent storms.
What fantastic sustainability initiatives, well done to all our creative Grounds Sports Team.
We are delighted to announce that the Grounds team are now successfully growing our own cut flowers at the Estate Services Centre Nursery, which are used for the fabulous bouquets and beautiful floral displays on campus.
This initiative from our talented Nursery and Floristry staff means that we are reducing our carbon footprint, working within our sustainability practices and reducing costs.
We have received excellent positive feedback from our customers, who really embrace the unique personal touch that the displays and bouquets now give as the flowers are grown in-house on our estate.
Photos below show the journey for this initiative; starting from the newly built raised bed right through to a beautiful floral display created with our in-house grown cut flowers.
Bees and other pollinators are vital to growing lots of our favourite foods and for plants to flourish in our fields and gardens.
It is Bees’ Needs Week from 8th to 14th July 2019 and whether you are a farmer, a gardener or a manager of urban or amenity spaces, there is something you can do to help support our valuable insect pollinators.
There are five simple actions you can take to help pollinators and make sure their populations are sustained:
- Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees – our mature and exotic plants give long flowering periods for bees and insects.
- Let your garden grow wild – we have wildflower meadows located throughout our campuses to encourage biodiversity.
- Cut your grass less often – we ensure refuge strips are left uncut along campus watercourses to encourage wildlife.
- Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots – we practise sympathetic maintenance regimes and have installed bug hotels and insect palaces throughout our campuses.
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides – we use Integrated Pest Management to minimise the use of pesticides.
It’s Go Green Week – head over to The Forum where you can find out how to boost your sustainability skills and learn how to make practical green changes. There are loads of activities and events going on until Friday 22nd March.