1st March 2017

Bugs, Bats & Birds

Warrington Biodiversity Workshop

It's almost spring and on a glorious sunny morning in March, Green Chester collaborated with our Warrington Grounds & Gardens team (G&G) to help try and encourage more biodiversity on our campuses. The day was a fantastic opportunity for staff and students to take time out of their busy schedules and re-connect with nature.

We used old pallets, acorns, leaves and lots of other natural materials to make a huge insect hotel in the Forest School and some smaller versions to be distributed across our campuses. An insect hotel provides free accommodation to its occupants, and in return, when it is time for them to check out, they will be right on site to go about their pollination and pest predation. Various insects prefer different room furnishings and to encourage all of our friends to come and stay, we furnished each section a little differently. Drilled wood and hollow bamboo canes are a perfect place for solitary bees to lay their eggs in peace, whilst wood, twigs and sticks are welcome lodgings for ground beetles and ladybirds. The straw, leaves and grass provide a cosy place for lacewings to hangout and stay warm.

Bats play an important role in many environments and can be found on many of our campuses. Did you know that some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds? Other bats also help control pests by eating insects. Bats do not like draughts, and prefer well insulated boxes where temperature and humidity remain constant, and we have provided the perfect location in one of our cosy bat boxes!

Birdboxes are wonderful places for certain species of birds to nest or feed. Some birds, such as tits investigate their nesting spots in February and March so we are giving them a warm welcome to campus this month by providing somewhere comfortable for them to roost. The size of our boxes will hopefully attract species such as wren, wagtail, sparrows and maybe even some robins to visit. It is not unusual for birds to return to the same box year after year, so ensuring we have plenty might encourage more birds to come and stay with us more regularly.

Have you visited the Forest School at Warrington or Memorial Woodland at Chester? Why not take some time out and explore our wonderfully diverse campuses and see what wildlife you can spot? It is really important to all of us at Green Chester and everyone in Grounds & Gardens to encourage biodiversity and ensure that there are green spaces on campus for our staff and students to relax and enjoy nature. If there is anything you think would be a good addition to any of our sites, let us know.

We will be looking for volunteers to come and help us find suitable locations to set up our homes and hotels over the next two weeks.

You can email greenchester@chester.ac.uk to register your interest.