Roger Stevens Pond Development

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed changes to the Roger Stevens Pond. The development was part of a multidisciplinary, collaborative project supported by the University’s Living Lab. The University’s Sustainability Services Team worked with Estates Services, School of Biological Sciences, School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering to transform the cooling pond into a promoter for biodiversity and scientific research. We are also installing water quality monitoring equipment at the pond at the Brownlee Centre to extend the scope and potential for the project. There is a hope that once the neutrality of the water is in balance we will introduce fish to the pond. Don’t worry about the ducks – they have flown south for the winter and we await their return to their new home!

This project came about due to the operational need to improve the pond, to reduce operational costs and to increase biodiversity value. There are further benefits to come from this development scheme; enhancing biodiversity and research opportunities. The pond will be monitored throughout the year by PhD student, Dan Warren, from the School of Biology. The sensors installed by Sustainability Services and the School of Geography will provide data for research across a number of Schools and Faculties. By working in collaboration with Estates and Sustainability, anybody can use the pond as a living lab for their research. This might be dissertations, assessed projects or even fieldwork modules.

The Leeds Living Lab is a programme coordinated by the Sustainability Services and drives the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation. The Living Lab has already brought together over 140 operational and academic staff and students to identify and deliver sustainable solutions through research and innovation, using the University campus as a test bed. This allows us to create real world solutions on a campus or city-wide scale. In the last year interdisciplinary teams from across the University have developed nine collaborative projects and created ten individual student project and dissertation partnerships. We encourage staff and students to make the most of our campus and consider how their research or studies might benefit from using the campus as a test bed.

 

Sustainable Garden – Yorkshire in Bloom Preparation

Calling all Staff, Students and local people: The University has been entered for the Yorkshire in Bloom competition and we need your help to make the garden look its best.

You can come along for a short time or the whole session, no experience needed.  There’s always some produce to take home and lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn new skills, share ideas and get stuck in to growing tasty organic vegetables.  It’s a great way to chill out, do something new and meet new friends in a beautiful space.

All are welcome and refreshments are provided. We also provide tools, tea and snacks and there are toilets nearby.

If you aren’t sure where we are text/call 07706643035.

Sustainable Garden – Yorkshire in Bloom Preparation

Calling all Staff, Students and local people: The University has been entered for the Yorkshire in Bloom competition and we need your help to make the garden look its best.

You can come along for a short time or the whole session, no experience needed.  There’s always some produce to take home and lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn new skills, share ideas and get stuck in to growing tasty organic vegetables.  It’s a great way to chill out, do something new and meet new friends in a beautiful space.

All are welcome and refreshments are provided. We also provide tools, tea and snacks and there are toilets nearby.

If you aren’t sure where we are text/call 07706643035.

Campus Biodiversity Survey

Following the approval of the University’s Biodiversity Standard, the Sustainability Service asked for volunteers to help bring the organisation closer to achieving the ambition of becoming an exemplar of urban biodiversity.  To do this, volunteers were assigned a section of the campus to survey and to identify locations that may have potential to improve the habitat value to support urban wildlife.  These findings would then be used to start developing the new biodiversity action plan.

So on a cold but bright January afternoon I set off with a map, clipboard and coloured pencils to the Western Campus to survey the fairly substantial area around the Maurice Keyworth, Liberty, Charles Thackrah and Michael Marks Buildings.

The first stage was to use the Phase 1 habitat classification survey technique to record the current types of habitat in place, such as woodland, scrub, grassland, marsh, tall herb and fen.  The second stage was to identify and suggest biodiversity opportunities and improvements that could be made in this part of the campus.  For example, leaving grass to grow a little longer, planting hedgerows, swapping annual plants for perennial species which are better for bees, increasing tree cover, creating log piles for invertebrates and increasing shrub cover for smaller mammals.

I was impressed to discover that quite a few initiatives were already in place, including a log pile, bird feeders, a bee hotel and a wildflower meadow.  However, I was pleased to be able to make further suggestions such as areas suitable for growing creepers, putting in more log piles and bug hotels, and I even suggested one place suitable for making a pond!  I will look forward to seeing what developments arise once all of the surveys of the different parts of campus have been completed and put together.

Joanne Sutherland, SDDU

IntoUniversity visit

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The Sustainability Service recently hosted a workshop for students from IntoUniversity (http://intouniversity.org/) on the importance of biodiversity.

The session started with an introductory activity on biodiversity and its importance, then the students were asked to become landscape designers for the day and design new flower beds for our campus, encouraging them to use their knowledge of different species and their role in the ecosystem. They were also given some guidance before designing the flower beds such as examples of plant species that could be planted on campus and incest species that could be attracted to the flowers.

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The workshop not only allowed the students to embrace their creativity, it allowed them to work in teams and make decisions together about the design of the flower beds.

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The 3 final winners will be picked soon and they will be planted at the entrance of the Parkinson building in spring to enhance biodiversity on campus. Don’t forget to follow our blog and social media accounts for updates on the designs.

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BIG Campus Bird Watch 2018

Birdwatch 2018
On the 26th January 2018 we held our seventh annual ‘Big Campus Bird Watch’. Thanks to all staff and students who came out to help us identify the bird species on campus and help us with our biodiversity work. 

Completing the Survey
You can do the survey in any area of campus you like.  If you have the time and enthusiasm, you are more than welcome to submit multiple forms for different areas of campus! You can complete the survey in a variety of ways.  We would encourage electronic reporting wherever possible and have set up an electronic form that you can find by clicking here.  Alternatively, you can download a copy of the form, along with a guidance sheet below and email to sustainability@leeds.ac.uk, or post in the internal post to Sustainability Service, Facilities Directorate Building, Cloberry Street, Leeds, LS2 9BT. We will post the results of the survey on our website later in the spring.

Happy Surveying!

Apple picking and Juicing with Leeds Urban Harvest

 

Meet at the Sustainable Garden at 12pm and we will set off to collect apples from our fruit trees on campus. We’ll get back to the garden around 1pm where we’ll scrat and juice the apples. Please wear suitable clothing.

If you come late and want to join us en route, call Rita – 07837 800579 or John – 07800 874069

The regular edible gardening session will start at 2pm as usual.