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Tamara Hunt; Lizzie Nelson; Eloise Bull; Dr Daniel Bos; Hannah Cunningham; Dr Ruth Healey; Dr Martin Degg; Dr Rebecca Collins; Heather Johnson; Debbie Chiew Chong; Sam Hay. (Photos courtesy Dr Servel Miller)

The University’s Department of Geography and International Development partnered with its Sustainability Unit to host the clean-up of the Memorial Woodland on the Parkgate Road Campus, by carrying out a litter pick over lunchtime. Dr Daniel Bos, Senior Lecturer in Geography and International Development, said: “The idea came about through one of the tutorial sessions with first year students, and we thought it would be a great idea to do some volunteering in our immediate environment to make a positive impact.”

Ten bags of rubbish were collected during the clean-up, most of it was sweet wrappers, crisp packets, plastic cups and straws. There were a number of unusual items found including a mug (which has since been cleaned up and put in the kitchen cupboard to be used), a toothbrush, a chair, a headlamp and an old supermarket plastic bag.

Lizzie, a third year Geography and Natural Hazard Management student, took part in the clean-up. She said: “Studying Geography and understanding the negative impacts litter has on the environment encouraged me to make a difference, however big or small. The Best Building, my building of study, is next to the woodland space so, in a way, I felt responsible to clear up. I really enjoyed it. Also, it was nice to meet the Sustainability Team at the University and to get an insight into the work that they do. It would be great if the woodland continues to be maintained and is protected, especially as green spaces become more scarce.”

Another student, Debbie Chiew Chong, who is studying a Master’s in Education in Society, added: “I always like to be involved in green-related volunteering, but the timings were not always suitable – the woodland clearing was perfect timing, so I decided to take part in it. Fresh air and greenery is good for your health, so do take the chance to get out by volunteering in future green projects. Start small - if everyone does this, the world will be a better place.”

After the clean-up, the group pulled together ideas for how the space could be used for recreational, wellbeing and research/teaching activities. Tamara Hunt, the University’s Sustainability Officer, said: “We had an excellent discussion about the opportunities available and the students were really passionate about how we can make better use of the Memorial Woodland. The ideas will be taken forward to the Sustainability Forum at the University next month, and developed with the Grounds and Gardens and the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO).”
 

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