The independent survey of birds on Streatham Campus and St Luke’s Campus, recorded during Spring and Summer this year, has just been completed. We were encouraged that, overall, we have a good spread of bird species and numbers using our campuses for breeding. This suggests we continue to sustain a range of suitable habitats.
The top five species recorded on campus were:
Importantly, as well as the regular feathery users of campus, we also have use by some of the species on the RSPB red and amber lists including Dunnock, House Sparrow, Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Redwing and Herring Gull.
We continue to strive to have a range of plants and trees on campus in formal and informal settings that provide food and habitats for bird species and also a range of fauna that helps to add to the value and purpose of the campuses in the centre of Exeter.
As mentioned in previous posts, we have retained our Green Flags at both St. Luke’s and Streatham Campuses. We have now had our flag raising ceremony at Streatham Campus, we were not able to have a similar ceremony at St. Luke’s due to building work going on near the flagpole. We were, however, able to have photos taken in the beautiful staff garden at St. Luke’s and the sun even tried to shine for us a bit.
Outer Areas, Spreytonway and Central Estate Teams
Kate raises the Green Flag (this was take two, after we had turned the flag the right way around – oops!)
Our new Groundsperson, Ross has been kept busy in his first few weeks working with the University. He has been improving areas at Topsham Sports Ground and planting trees – this is part of a project to enhance the biodiversity at the sports ground. He will also be adding a bug hotel, bird boxes and hedgehog nesting boxes in the near future.
As you may be aware, the University of Exeter is to host the Tongan team for the Rugby World Cup next year. As part of the selection process our sports grounds at Topsham were subject to rigorous testing to ensure their suitability.
Here are some pictures on the testing in progress:
Longstanding root damage to the Dawn Redwood tree (Metasequoia Glyptostobodies) near the Smeall Building, St Luke’s Campus, has caused disease and decay which now makes the tree potentially unsafe in high winds. The University’s Grounds and Arboricultural team has advised that the tree must be removed urgently so this work will take place this Saturday, 4th October. Felling a tree is the last resort for our Grounds team, who take great pride in the rich diversity that helped secure a Green Flag award for the Grounds. Sadly, as this tree is situated near offices and residential properties, they are left with no other option. The tree will be replaced with the same species.
The instability has been caused by historic damage to one of the tree’s major roots. Disease and decay has set in over the years. This has found its way back into the bowl of the tree and there is now a risk of the tree failing and hurting people or damaging property if a high wind hits the tree.
The Dawn Redwood species was rediscovered by plant hunters in China in the 1940’s after previously having only been known in fossil records. This particular tree is understood to have been planted at St Luke’s during the 1970’s or 80’s (though a ring count will help confirm its age).
The area will be cordoned off while the removal works are taking place and the Grounds Team will ensure the soil is well prepared ready for a replacement tree to be planted nearby in the Spring of 2015.
The essential works will require the periodic use of chainsaws and a chipper, but these will not be started until after 9am. The works have to be implemented at the weekend to manage the risk to anyone using or visiting the campus. The tree is in proximity to a high-use pathway.
We apologise for any inconvenience this causes to our neighbours.
To celebrate a successful graduation week and being re-awarded Green Flags for both Streatham and St. Luke’s the Grounds staff were treated to a celebration barbecue at the end of July. We also had an award ceremony and Peter, the Assistant Grounds Manager for the Central Estate Team won Gardener of the Year!
Grounds staff at the celebration barbecue
Peter – Gardener of the Year receiving his award from Norrie from the Green Impact Unit and Iain Park, the Director of Grounds
We are delighted to be able to announce that both the St Luke’s Campus and Streatham Campus have been awarded the Green Flag, recognising them as being among the best green spaces in the country. The Green Flag judges assessed us against eight strict criteria including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement. Our Grounds Teams work extremely hard to ensure the grounds are looking their best, so it is great to get this award in recognition.
We will be having our flag-raising ceremonies in the next couple of weeks, so we will post more photos when we get them, until then, we can show off our certificates!