Sustainability at Lincoln A newsletter from the University of Lincoln Sustainability team.

Welcome to our relaunched Sustainability at Lincoln newsletter. During Lockdown, we created regular newsletters under the name Lockdown in nature, as we have moved out of restrictions, we'll be refocusing on all environmental news across the university and beyond.

Nature Unlocked

Welcome to our first dedicated update on wildlife across campus.

A Delph Pond Jewel

Kingfishers have been spotted on the Delph Pond multiple times over the last couple of weeks. The male kingfisher pictured in the newsletter was seen and photographed in July this year.

Spot the Kingfisher! A male kingfisher sits smartly on a low hanging branch above the pond water, with the Nicola de la Haye Building in the background.

A new campus resident?

Leah Vollans, let us know about a potential water vole sighting on the Brayford. Although she wasn't able to get a photo, she did some roughly cut reeds in the near area - possibly a sign that they are about. We'll monitor the space and maybe pop a trail camera out to see if we can pick up any images.

Image of long grassy plants roughly cut and a hand indicating one. Photo: Leah Vollans.

#Summerwatch success!

Our team were recently involved in #Summerwatch at the University of Lincoln with Chris Packham, running survey tunnel workshops - something our Hogfriendly team regularly offer training on. We were successful in garnering a number of prints, particularly around the Delph Pond area. This is where we've left areas to rewild, and also where we've seeded wildflowers in the Lincoln Medical School landscaping.

Members of the public partook in workshops on mammal surveys, pond dipping, owl pellet dissection and meeting the Brayford Honeybees.

You can watch Chris Packham and Alex Foxley-Johnson speak on the day below, talking all things hedgehogs and more!

We also had some brilliant photos on trail cameras across the Brayford Campus.

Image of a fox having a stretch in the Secret Garden.
Image of a hedgehog bumbling along in the grass adjacent to the Isaac Newton Building.

View a gallery on images from the mammal survey workshops below:

Wildflower Identification Sessions

Our Wildflower Identification Sessions have now moved from online to in person.

During our 2nd July session, we identified 21 species of wildflowers in the rewilded areas by the Delph Pond. These included; creeping cinquefoil, bee orchids, self heal, wild mignonette, yarrow, rough hawksbeard, spear thistle, ribwort plantain, dock and bramble.

Images of the Wildflower Identification Session at the Brayford Campus in July 2021.

We've enjoyed surveying the rewilded areas opposite the Isaac Newton Building in our August session earlier this month and will be collating all the finding in a dedicated Microsoft Team. If you'd like to pop along, please drop an email to environment@lincoln.ac.uk and we will forward you future invites! The session generally falls on the first Friday of the month at 11:00.

Inspired to rewild

Special Collections Librarian Claire Arrand tells us about how she's been inspired to rewild part of her garden at home.

I listened to most of the University’s Climate Change Seminar Series, which took place earlier this year. Following Professors Harriet Gross and Libby John’s session on ‘How Climate Change Impacts on Plants and Gardens’, I was inspired to change my garden and create a wild area to encourage more bees and wildlife. It has been surprisingly easy to stop mowing a section of the lawn but I wanted a designated area, which was created on March 28th.

Image of a lawn sectioned off by bricks.

My small garden does not have a rectangular lawn and already had curved borders, so mirroring the curve was an obvious solution. My husband suggested re-using the bricks, which had been gathered for a hedgehog survey in May 2020, as I had joined the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group initiated by Alex Foxley-Johnson. My garden survey produced no evidence of hedgehogs, just mice but the bricks were perfect for the edging.

Image of a hedgehog survey tunnel made out of bricks.

To explain why a section was being ‘neglected’ the next step was to introduce a bright yellow sign then sit back and watch the grass grow. Alex suggested I wait a year to see what would grow naturally but I could not resist sowing some cornflowers seeds in a bare patch, which are growing but somewhat swamped in the tall grass.

Image of a small yellow sign that says: Pardon the Weeds, we are feeding the bees.

Next year I shall probably cut out some small circles around the edges of the wild area and plant seeds to attract bees and other pollinators but I also intend to add logs as an insect habitat. I love watching the grass swaying in the breeze and spotting clover etc., which is usually beheaded in the rest of the lawn. This new wild area proved irresistible to my brother’s dog, Basil, who made a beeline for the longest grass to flop down for an afternoon snooze!

In the Kitchen Garden

The University kitchen garden is a great opportunity for staff and students to learn new skills, support the community and start cooking with home-grown produce!

Starting in back in April, we’ve had a number of regularly and drop-in volunteers supporting the garden. They came to use via the Summer Festival of Learning, through the SU Eco Award and via word of mouth. Staff and students who work on the garden are invited to take home any produce grown and the remainder is donated to local communities.

This year the produce grown focused on the types of food we knew local communities could use, particularly potatoes, carrots, courgettes and tomatoes. Last week we were able to drop off a large number of potatoes at Mint Lane café, as well as carrots, broad beans and a round courgette!

The garden is also home to half a bed of herbs and we encourage the local community to pick and use the herbs, as long as they leave some behind to continue growing and allow others to share.

Whilst this year’s crop is coming to the end, we always welcome new volunteers and are looking into what crops we can grow over the winter months to see how well the perform and learn how to make them grow more effectively.

If you'd like to be involved please email environment@lincoln.ac.uk

Mint Lane Café is an inclusive social space providing cheap and healthy food. Comprising of a café, shop and community space, this enterprise is also combatting food waste and sells produce on a pay what you can basis at present.

New recycling bins for PPE

With the intent to reduce general waste and help close the loop in all the single use plastic we’ve been generating in relation to the pandemic, you can now dispose of the following on campus:

  • Plastic single use masks
  • Plastic disposable gloves (clean and dry)
  • Face visors – ad-hoc visors, please get in touch if you have a large number of visors to dispose of
  • Lateral flow tests – these must be placed back inside the foil bag it was sealed in

Locations on campus are:

  • Minerva
  • Isaac Newton
  • JBL
  • Sarah Swift
  • Nicola de la Haye
  • The Medical School
  • Library
  • Sports Centre

If you spot a bin has been contaminated or is getting full, please email environment@lincoln.ac.uk and we’ll come to investigate.

Improving cycle compounds

Active travel is highly important to many at the University and we want to ensure the correct, secure facilities are available to staff and students to use.

As part of this, over the summer we have updated the key-code cycle compounds to salto locks! Providing more security and ensuring only those people related to the University have access to the compounds.

To gain access, you just need your student or staff ID card and make sure you update it at one of the salto points in the main buildings.

If you have any trouble accessing the compounds first ensure you hold your student card for 5 seconds against an update point, if it still isn’t working you can email estatessupport@lincoln.ac.uk and they will make sure your card has the correct access rights against it.

UPDATE – Cycling and Cycle Storage Policy. Keep your eyes peeled for the new cycling on campus policy, which will be coming out in the Autumn, it will have important updates regarding storage on campus and how you should be moving around campus.

What's on:

  • Chris Packham | Live Lounge | How to save the world - Missed out on the most recent Live Lounge by Chris Packham? You can rewatch it below:
  • Lincoln | Roadmap to net zero | Zero Carbon Tour - Monday, September 27, 2021 - 10:30 to 14:00. The #ZeroCarbonTour is headed to Lincoln as it make the way through the UK to COP26 in Glasgow in November, sharing the net zero message with the business community. Accelerating the UN-backed Race to Zero as part of the UK's #TogetherForOurPlanet campaign.
  • Wildflower Identification Sessions with Professor Libby John - Join us on the first Friday of the month at 11:00 for an informal identification and discussion session in person. For an invite: environment@lincoln.ac.uk. The next event will be in September.

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Images by Alex Foxley-Johnson & Tracey Turton, Claire Arrand, Leah Vollans.