Biodiversity

Photo of a hedgehog, taken by Emma Stokes, winner of the ARU Biodiversity Photography Competition 2016

Image credit: Emma Stokes, winner of the ARU Biodiversity Photography Competition 2016

Biodiversity is close to our hearts at Anglia Ruskin University.

Students and staff within our School of Life Sciences and Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) conduct vital, impactful research into the effects of changing environments on wildlife, and how we can act to sustain and enhance biodiversity.

Academics and students from our Wildlife Society work closely with local conservation groups to understand and protect the biodiversity in our local community. We received a Living Landscapes Award from the Essex Wildlife Trust for our restoration of the River Chelmer Millpond, which now forms part of the Chelmer Valley Heritage & Nature Trail.

Campus biodiversity trails

We've established a biodiversity trail on our Cambridge campus (PDF) and a biodiversity trail on our Chelmsford campus (PDF), allowing you to take time out and explore the local wildlife. Explore areas such as the Millpond and bug hotel in Chelmsford or the beehive and green wall in Cambridge.

Wildlife sightings on campus

Have you seen any interesting wildlife on campus? If you're an ARU student or staff member, you can report your sighting via our ARUgreen scheme (in the Get Involved section) to earn yourself points and potentially rewards.

Staff and students have spotted red foxes, otters, mink, grass snakes, slow worms, and all sorts of birds including kingfishers, sparrowhawks, and little egrets on our Cambridge and Chelmsford campuses!

Biodiversity Net Gain Policy

Our Biodiversity Net Gain Policy (PDF) outlines how we will balance the biodiversity commitments contained within our environmental policy with the operational needs of our busy campuses such as identifying land for new buildings or facilities. It ensures that the net value of biodiversity on our land is protected or enhanced.

Green pockets

We manage certain areas of our campuses to provide habitats for wildlife. We call these areas green pockets and they can be identified by the numbered signs next to them.

More about our green pockets

1. Lord Ashcroft Building green roof, Cambridge

A circular green roof on ARU's Cambridge campus

We have several ‘green roofs’ on our campuses including this one in Cambridge. These are planted with sedum, providing food and nesting materials for small birds.

They also help reduce local flooding by retaining rainwater, regulate internal building temperature and extend the roof lifetime.

The green roof on the Lord Ashcroft Building also has two beehives, which produce honey for us.

2. David green wall, Cambridge

Plants and grasses growing in the vertical spaces between windows on ARU's Cambridge campus

This increases the volume and variety of planting on site, as species in this green wall are generally not used elsewhere.

It provides habitats and food sources for insects, and therefore birds, and pollen for a variety of bees from flowering plants and grasses.

It also attracts water loving species, with dragonflies seen around the wall during the summer months.

3. David wildlife garden, Cambridge

An area of pollen-rich plants on ARU's Cambridge campus

This area actually lies on the roof of an electricity transformer.

It is seeded with a wildflower mix including wild herbs and contains drilled old logs and stone topdressing to provide insect habitat.

This area supplies seeds, berries and pollen for insects, and food and nesting materials for small birds.


4. David pollinator garden, Cambridge

An area of pollen-rich plants on ARU's Cambridge campus

Situated to the rear of our David building which houses our life sciences department, this is an area of pollen-rich planting to attract butterflies, moths and other nectar loving species.

Bee populations are in decline around the world and planting such as this helps provide food and habitat to support them.



5. Broad Street planting, Cambridge

Trees and plants on ARU's Cambridge campus

Newly planted and mulched beds provide natural habitats for insects thereby attracting birds.

Trees provide nesting sites and perches for birds.

A range of herbaceous planting gives variety of berries and cover.




6. Mill Road cemetery boundary, Cambridge

The Bug Hotel on ARU's Cambridge campus

This area is ideal for wildlife due to its proximity to the Mill Road cemetery and restricted access for people.

We’ve installed an owl box, two bat boxes and three tit boxes as these have been sighted in the area.

We’ve also installed a bug hotel and several habitat piles to support insect numbers, providing food for birds as well as hedgehogs and other small animals.


7. Peter Taylor bog garden, Cambridge

Long grass and moisture-loving plants outside Peter Taylor House on ARU's Cambridge campus

This is an area with poor drainage and is naturally damp.

It has been sown with moisture loving plants to attract a different range of insects and the surrounding grass is left longer, which has encouraged the growth of some less common orchids.




8. Peter Taylor pollinator garden, Cambridge

Pollen-rich flowers outside Peter Taylor House on ARU's Cambridge Campus

This is an area of pollen-rich planting to attract butterflies, moths and other nectar loving species.

Bee populations are in decline around the world and planting such as this helps provide food and habitat to support them.





9. Collier Road wildlife gardens, Cambridge

Long grass and wildflowers with an explanatory sign on ARU's Cambridge Campus

These wildlife gardens were originally created as part of a student project to compare the biodiversity of urban gardens using different management techniques.

They’ve been sown with a wildflower mix to increase insect numbers, and the grass cutting reduced to allow growth and provide better habitat.



10. Mildmay bug hotel, Chelmsford

The Bug Hotel on ARU's Chelmsford campus

This bug hotel was designed and created by the ARU student winner of the 2015 Green Pitch competition, with the help of our grounds maintenance staff.

The hotel has been sited at the edge of the campus to encourage wildlife from the neighbouring hedges, meadows and woodland to venture onto our campus.




11. Mediterranean Garden, Chelmsford

The water efficient Mediterranean Garden on ARU's Chelmsford campus

Maybe not our greenest of pockets, this space has been specifically designed to minimise water use and be drought resistant to cope with our warming climate.

A water-hungry lawn has been replaced with gravel, and plant species have been selected for their drought resistant features such as deep rooting, long narrow leaves (lower transpiration), and reflective, glaucous, waxy coating (to reflect solar heat and retain moisture).

Read more about more green pockets.

Biodiversity Photography Competition

Every April our staff and students enter a photography competition on the theme of what biodiversity on our campuses means to them. Members of the ARU community vote on the best photo and two runners up.