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The University of Chester estate provides valuable habitats for flora and fauna. Including 3 bug hotels which provide a haven for many types of insects such as ladybirds, butterflies, moths, solitary bees, spiders and beetles.  One of the bug hotels can be found in the newly created woodland area on Parkgate Campus. They are made entirely of reclaimed and recycled materials found around the campus and local area. Insects are a vital part of our ecosystem; they are an important source of food for birds, bats and other animals and also predate on other insects such as aphids which keeps our gardens and crops pest-free. Insects help with the decomposition of soil, making it rich in nutrients and are essential for pollinating plants and flowers.

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The first Bug Hotel made by the Grounds & Gardens team by the woodland walk area

Within the Woodland walk area we have installed a recycled bench made entirely from unwanted wooden pallets, and the next step is to work on more furniture, create a planting scheme, and put up some bird feeders.

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The woodland walk seating area

The Grounds and Gardens team benefit from having two new electric vehicles. The first is a mini E-truck which is great for travelling around campus, and the second is a Nissan 100% Electric Zero Emissions van. Along with our new vehicles the team use a selection of eco-friendly electric garden tools including long and short arm hedge cutters and strimmers.

Edible plants have been planted across campus including herbs and salad crops, available for staff and students to help themselves too. The strawberries are a real winner!

On the Warrington campus there is a dedicated Forest school area including a pond providing natural habitats for a variety of wildlife. The University is committed to ensuring that our green spaces offer benefits to the environment and our staff and students. The team practice a tree replacement policy on all sites, where if a tree is removed it will be replaced by another. On a yearly basis new tree whips are planted, and any that have not survived are replaced with a new one.  

The Grounds and Gardens team, run workshops with students at Chester and Warrington to build bird and bat boxes that have been installed in trees across the sites. There are also plans to install swift boxes soon. A new woodland walk is being created alongside the sports pitches at Kingsway Campus. 150 tree whips plus 50 more mature trees were planted by students, staff and residents from the local community in November 2019 in support of the Woodland Trust's Big Climate Fightback. A further 450 trees will be planted in the spring along with wildflower seeds.

Providing the biodiversity on which we all depend on for the quality of life and for the future of the planet. It can also be beneficial for improving lifestyles, wellbeing and working conditions.

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Tree Planting at Kingsway
Tree Planting at Kingsway

 

University Allotment

The University has a dedicated space for staff and students to grow fruit and vegetables. The University allotment is run by a team of staff/student volunteers. It has gone from strength to strength this year, led by Dr Servel Miller and Dr Rebecca Collins from the Department of Geography and International Development. They have been supported by a strong team of volunteers from Student Futures, Residential Living, Performing Arts and Estates & Facilities who have weeded, watered and harvested the allotment over the summer. Carrots, garlic, shallots, potatoes, beetroot, spinach and lettuce have all thrived over the summer and there are plenty of apples and pears on the tree ready for picking.

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Allotment summer harvest
Volunteers harvest produce at the allotment

The Volunteering team’s new student led project Chester Healthy Eating Workshops (CHEW) will be using some of the produce from the allotment for activities they have planned throughout the next academic year. The team plan to increase student activity on the allotment and are working with the Nutrition students who are running the CHEW project to be involved in the growing of vegetables and herbs.