Photo of flowers in Burleigh Wood

Loughborough University named one of the UK's most wildlife-friendly universities

The University has been recognised as one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions for looking after wildlife on campus and in the wider community.

A new study, led by wildlife care experts Ark Wildlife, surveyed all UK universities on their wildlife initiatives and support – on and off campus.

The University met 100% of the criteria for the ‘platinum tier’, with wildlife protection policies, partnership or funding for local wildlife causes, biodiversity or wildlife activities on offer, and regular wildlife surveys.

The University commits to promoting biodiversity on the grounds with our Biodiversity Action Plan and Woodland Management Plan. We are also part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative, a nationwide project set up by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to help bring hedgehogs back from the brink of extinction. Last year we earned the Bronze Award, and we are currently aiming toward Silver accreditation in the near future.

Sean McMenemy, Director at Ark Wildlife, said: “It’s clear that some universities are taking wildlife conservation extremely seriously, and it’s great to see. They’re really in tune with the local environment, providing invaluable habitats to animals in the area.

“Importantly, the most wildlife-friendly universities are actively encouraging students to become involved. This will breed greater awareness of conservation methods and just how vital wildlife is to the UK. Hopefully, it’ll also instil a lifelong love of animals and the environment in their graduates.”

Wildlife on campus

The University is home to an array of wildlife; there are numerous badger setts on site, hedgehogs, kestrels, and muntjacs.

Bees are a welcome inhabitant of the campus helping to pollinate our fruit, plants, and trees. The University apiary is home to between 6-10 colonies of honey bees. The primary aim of the apiary is to support the declining bee populations and ensure the health and well-being of the bees in our care.

Student and staff volunteers and the Gardens Team have monitored species on campus over the past year, and they have discovered the following:

  • 7 species of bumblebees
  • 17 species of butterfly (and 345 sightings in 2022)
  • 23 species of birds in Holywell Wood
  • 50 species of plants in Holywell Wood and 50 in Burleigh Wood

Our contribution to local wildlife is also evident in the opportunities for staff and students to participate in wildlife activities, such as guided woodlands tours, Fruit Routes harvest events, and conservation volunteering opportunities.

On 27 April, University Arborist Rich Fenn Griffin is leading a bluebell walk in Burleigh Wood. This is an opportunity to learn about the history and ecology of notable features in the wood, including the locally famous bluebell display.

Students can get involved in protecting wildlife on campus by joining the Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) Landscape and Gardening Society or Loughborough Greens Society. The LSU also offers conservation volunteering opportunities through Action, where students can take part in projects to take care of our woods and natural areas on campus.

If you are a first-year student living in halls and want to get involved in more environmental activities, please speak to your hall CAS rep (you can find out who this is by asking your hall manager). You can also tell your CAS rep that you want to apply to become a Sustainability Champion and have a say in initiatives and campaigns that are running on campus.