Into University: Wildlife Friendly Garden Student Design Project

Into University: Wildlife Friendly Garden Student Design Project

The Sustainability Service have begun working with IntoUniversity Primary Student Council on a very exciting new project to support the students in designing and campaigning for a wildlife friendly outdoor learning garden on a patch of greenspace at the Beeston Centre. IntoUniversity provides local learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve, the centres offer an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

So far, we have run 2 workshops as part of the co-design interactive design process we are following to work alongside the students to create the final scheme proposals. We began with biodiversity bingo to get the Student Council thinking about the different types of habitat that they could design in their garden to attract a variety of urban wildlife. The students then worked in project teams and started to sketch out 2D design layouts. This included mapping out which elements would be included in their designs to create an exciting wildlife friendly space including bug hotels, bee friendly flowers, bird boxes, fruit trees, compost patches, vegetable beds, hedges and trees. The students were also keen that the space could also be used an outdoor classroom space which they could use when coming to the Centre for their academic support sessions.

On Friday, our workshop helped to develop the student designs ideas further with an interactive 3D elements workshop based on ‘planning for real’ principles, modelling 3D design from the 2D garden layout maps. The idea was to ‘test out’ design ideas for real and see if they really worked when modelled in 3D elements. We put our crafty creative skills to work with the children to create trees with sponge and cocktail sticks, ponds and reed beds from felt and tissue paper, bug hotels with lolly sticks and lots more! We were so impressed with how creative and diverse the ideas were and we think we have found some very talented landscape designers at the Into University Beeston Centre.

The next steps for this project are for the final design to be created based on the merging all of the student ideas and supporting the IntoUniversity primary and secondary school councils with a fundraising campaign to help get the project on the ground. It’s very exciting and something we are looking forward to being a part of!

Here are some photos from the workshops:

 

Photos: IntoUniversity students working on their designs in 2D & 3D elements co-design workshops. Credit: IntoUniversity.

We are now a Bike Friendly Business!

We are pleased to announce that the University of Leeds are now officially a City Connect Silver Accredited Bike Friendly Business!

Here is some of the judges feedback following our application:

“Well done on achieving Silver accreditation on your first assessment. It’s clear that University of Leeds takes cycling seriously and that you are committed to the continued promotion of cycling to your staff and visitors alike.” City Connect, Bike Friendly Business Team.

So what is Bike Friendly Business Accreditation?

“Currently, the majority of commuter journeys across our region are made by car, whilst only 1.5% of commuter journeys are made by bike. We have a congested, overburdened road network and this contributes to some of the country’s poorest air quality, with local drivers spending on average one day a year sitting in traffic. CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Business accreditation scheme, which complements the new Cycle Superhighway constructed between Bradford and Leeds, aims to help address this and offers support to local organisations who want to encourage more and more people to travel to their premises by bike, and also recognises the efforts of those who are already doing lots of things for people on bikes.” City Connect

How did the University of Leeds perform?

The University of Leeds applied to the CityConnect Bike Friendly Business scheme in order to have some external assessment carried out on all aspects of cycling in the University workplace in order to see what we were doing well and also where we could improve. The University were assessed facilities such as cycle parking, availability of cycle to work scheme and the wider support offered for staff such as availability of bike maintenance facilities and route planning advice, through an application form and a site visit. The assessment from City Connect took into consideration things such as the size of the organisation and other factors which may affect organisational ability to implement certain aspects of their recommendations for improvement as part of the accreditation.

We were the highest scoring bike friendly business in the West Yorkshire region due to things like our campus bike hub, excellent bike parking facilities, cycle to work scheme, staff access to hire bikes and dedicated contacts for cycling in Sustainability Service.  We were only 8 marks from being the first gold accredited regional business so we are now going to look at the areas which were highlighted for improvement such as availability of cycle training and more lockable bike parking to aim for Gold next year!

As part of this accreditation the University are now able to apply for a small grant, offered to help us create a further improved environment to encourage staff and visitors to cycle to campus. We are exploring the possibility of applying for more electric bikes for hire from the bike hub as part of this available grant funding. Watch this space!

If you are interested in finding out more about the scheme, please click here. http://cyclecityconnect.co.uk/get-involved/working-with-businesses/