The Grounds and Gardening Team within Queen's have made key efforts to enhance biodiversity found within campus. This has been achieved via the 'Nurture and Grow: Connecting People through Nature' Programme and by changing key operational procedures.
The Gardening Team within Queen's have been busy making sure our pollinators have an abundance of food and shelter!
The Gardening Team:
- Have created several 'No Mow Areas' within Riddel Hall, at Ashby Hill and within the DKB Quad, resulting in a range of pollinators growing- buttercups, clover, selfheal and silene.
- Do not use pesticides on campus and limit the use of herbicide to treat hard surfaces for health and safety purposes only.
- Plant species that are listed on the RSPB approved plant list (roughly 80% of all plants on site), including lupins, lavender, teugn, nepeta cataria, hellebores, grape hyacinth and anenome.
- Limit disruption to wildlife via a range of methods, including restricting hedge row cutting during bird nesting season.
- Have planted orchards across our campus- you can find these at the DKB and Elm's BT9 Accommodation. The orchards include apple, cherry and plum trees.
In addition to the ongoing work of the Estates Team, we also monitor the level of pollinator diversity we currently have on campus in order to effectively assess the impact of such work and any future interventions.
As a result two students from the School of Biology have been provided with placements to undertake a Phase 1 Habitat Survey during the 2021 survey season. They will be conducting plant, invertebrate, soil and mammal areas in two campus locations –Lennoxvale Street and Riddel Hall. This project has been funded via Queen's Green Fund.
If you have a biodiversity idea that will help Queen's support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan please get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queen's University Belfast are delighted that the ‘Nurture and Grow Programme: Connecting People Through Nature’ was selected as the winner of the Green Gown Awards Student Engagement Category.Green Gown Award Winner
Nurture and Grow Programme
Queen’s University staff, students and residents from the local community have joined forces in an effort to enhance the range of habitats within Queen’s community, ensuring South Belfast is providing a home for wildlife and enabling our local community to pull together and take action for climate change. As part of our application to The Green Gown Awards, a video was created to showcase the range of projects involved: Elms Allotment, Lennoxvale Tree Nursery, Medicinal Garden, Alleyway Transformation Project, DKB Orchard and Bio: Diverse City.
In partnership with SU Volunteer, QUB Engagement, The Conservation Volunteers and Sans Souci Residents Association, Queen's community planted 500+ saplings as part of the Belfast City Council One Million Trees for Belfast Initiative.
The majority of saplings started life as acorns collected from Belvoir Forest and cared for by Sans Souci Residents and The Conservation Volunteers at Lennoxvale Tree Nursery. The nursery formed in 2019 on a vacant brown field site within Queen’s Campus.
Along with 400 saplings provided by Lennoxvale Tree Nursery and 100 from the Grounds and Garden Team at Queen’s, the trees have now been replanted at Malone Playing Fields.
Thank you to everyone who took part, especially to Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Michell Kelly who came along to the event.
Staff, students and local residents have rejuvenated a vacant brownfield site into Lennoxvale Tree Nursery. The nursery is a great place to grow native trees, and has allowed for 1000 trees to be nurtured since 2019, all of which have been planted within Belfast as part of the One Million Trees for Belfast Initiative. This project was imagined by the local Sans Souci Residents Association and students, who are now responsible for the long-term management of the site with the support of The Conservation Volunteers NI.
In March 2022, the Lord Mayor of Belfast helped QUB staff and students and the Sans Souci Residents Association as they planted trees at Elm’s Village.
This journey started in 2019, when students and Sans Souci residents collected seeds from Belvoir Forest. Since then, local residents and the volunteers at Lennoxvale Tree Nursery on the Malone Road have looked after the acorns and helped them grow into oak saplings, which have been replanted at Elm’s Village.
The Lennoxvale Tree Nursery is just one of a number of 'Nurture and Grow' initiatives taking place across the University which bring together staff, students and members of the local community. These projects aim to increase local biodiversity and support nature in an urban setting.
The Green at Queen’s Allotment idea was created by a group of student volunteers, who worked in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers to launch the allotment in 2019.
The aim of the BT9 Student Allotment was to promote the importance of green spaces around the university, increase biodiversity, and support mental wellbeing and mindfulness by providing an area for relaxation. The project has proven to be a resounding success. The society currently has seven beds planted with a range of plants and vegetables, including potatoes, onions, and daffodils. With the help of the Conservation Volunteers the society has also created an apple orchard on site. Future plans include implementing composting and continuing to host a range of workshops. To get involved in the allotment please email email@example.com.
The Alleyway Transformation Project works with local resident groups to transform unused spaces within South Belfast into vital community spaces with seating and planting. Queen’s students, staff and local residents have tided, painted and planted two alleyways – Miracle Way and Caledonia Alley. The volunteers work with Belfast artists to create murals that reflect the local community spirit. Further, the student volunteers and residential groups work in partnership with the ‘Live Here Love Here’ Campaign to ensure the area is continually maintained and enhanced via clean ups throughout South Belfast.
The Sustainability and Gardening Team within Queen's have been busy working with students in West Winds Primary School and St. Malachy's Primary School around enhancing biodiversity within their grounds.
On 23/02/2022, QUB Gardeners made the trip to West Winds Primary School, Newtownards, to help the P7s plant some birch saplings. The children had an absolute blast planting 20 birch saplings at their school! Our Gardeners also had a great time teaching the children all about birch saplings, the tree-planting process and how to look after them.
The day was so successful that the teachers at West Winds Primary School would like our gardeners to come back and help the children create a Wildflower meadow at the school. This process has already begun, with Gareth Dalzell from Dalzell Landscape Company volunteering his time to cut the turf, and the children helping lift the turf away.
Green at Queen’s would like to thank West Winds Primary School for hosting our gardeners and looking after them so well, Gareth Dalzell for volunteering to cut the turf, and to the QUB gardening team for travelling to Newtownards to help the children plant the trees. Overall, it was a fantastic day!
This opportunity arose as part of the work of Professor Mark Emmerson from the School of Biological Sciences. He aided West Winds Primary School in applying for the Royal Society’s partnership grant called ‘Tomorrow’s Climate Scientists’. Schools can apply for grants of up to £3,000 to run investigative STEM projects in partnership with STEM professionals from academia or industry.
On 31st May 2022, our Gardening Team, along with QCAP (Queen's Communities and Place), visited St. Malachy's Primary School in The Markets to teach students how to build bird boxes for Blue Tits and Robins. While they were there, our Gardening Team also helped tidy up the primary school's garden area- they even found some frogs while they were hard at work!
The students had a great time (as you can see from the big smiles!) and our Gardening Team enjoyed a morning of activities at the primary school.
This outing was a part of the ongoing work QCAP complete with their community partners and also part of the Gardening Team's mission to increase biodiversity at Queen's University and biodiversity within the local community.
Belfast One Million Trees was inspired by an original idea from the Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group and it is a collaboration between public, private and voluntary sector partners.One Million Trees
On 01/03/2022, our QUB Gardening team, with the help of some Handy Helpers, made the trip to the Ashby Building to plant a new wildlife hedgerow on the hill at the back of the Ashby. The gardeners and Handy Helpers were tasked with planting 50 linear metres of hedgerow along the fencing that separates the Ashby Building from Chlorine Gardens. In order for the hedge to be deemed a ‘wildlife’ hedgerow, there must be at least 6 species of sapling planted. The species included in our new hedgerow included:
Hawthorne, Blackthorne, Holly, Beech, Oak, Field Maple, Hazel, Crab apple, Alder.
This project is part of the Gardening team’s mission to continue increasing biodiversity across Queen’s campus.
The School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering received £200 from the Green Fund to produce a digital timeline of their apple orchard. The below videos show the annual lifecycle of their apple trees from dormant, in blossom, early fruit, in leaf and fruit ready to be picked.
Queen's University Belfast has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award since 2019 – becoming the first university in Northern Ireland to be recognised by the scheme. The Green Flag Awards are judged annually by a panel of experts who volunteer their time to assess the management plans and the applicant sites through a rigorous judging process.Green Flag 2022
The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. It was first launched in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country and is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an environmental charity, runs the scheme in Northern Ireland.
The University achieved Green Flag status for its Lanyon site by having a site management plan in place and ensuring compliance with a range of strict criteria including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental management, biodiversity, community involvement, and safety standards.
Queen's also received its first Green Heritage Award for the Lanyon site in recognition of the site's celebration and promotion of unique elements of its heritage. Paul Wallace, Head Gardener in the University's Grounds and Gardens team, also achieved special recognition at the 2019 awards ceremony, where he was awarded 'Employee of the Year'.
Since 2019, Queen's University have continued to be awarded Green Flag. In 2022, the University received a commendation in the inaugural NI Pollinator Awards for various activities undertaken across the University to encourage pollinators.
With the help of staff and students across campus, Queen's are continually aiming to increase the number and range of wildlife surveys they undertake, which includes a number of citizen science surveys.
Increasingly, Queen's University are investing in biodiversity initiatives to ensure our campus is providing a home for wildlife. To ensure what we are doing is supporting our local wildlife, the number and range of biodiversity surveys taking part across campus needs to continually increase.
This has resulted in a range of staff and student projects:
- Queen's Wildlife Camera Project undertaken by the Porters
- School of Biological Sciences Living Lab Surveys
- The Sustainability and Gardening Team undertaking a range of citizen science surveys