10 Dec 2020
2020 saw the start of an exciting new project on campus. Wild Campus Cirencester is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Royal Agricultural University is lead partner working closing with the neighbouring Cirencester College and Deer Park School. Its aim is transformative habitat improvements across an area approximately half the size of Cirencester town.
James Hargreave joined us in November as Project Manager bringing over 20 years of project and environmental management experience. James explains that the objectives of Wild Campus centre on maximising ecological connectivity across sites and with the surrounding area. We will be rehabilitating land that has been ‘manicured’ for many years to achieve habitats with improved biodiversity. Between now and 2023 we will diversify 4ha of lawn, plant 1 km2 of native shrubs and seed 3 km2 of wild flowers. The surrounding area is home to eight species of bat that could benefit along with many other birds, mammals and invertebrates. A major element will focus on creating dark corridors to connect bat populations and increase foraging opportunities. Lighting will be replaced or improved with directional baffles and 150 bat boxes will be installed.
James will be helped by a small team of staff from all 3 educational establishments, but points out that it is incredibly important to involve students and academic staff. Covid-19 travel constraints and the need to reduce our carbon footprint means developing and utilising natural environments on the doorstep has never been more important. Many of the changes will provide opportunities for involvement in design, practical implementation, monitoring and ongoing management.
James Hargreave – Wild Campus Project Manager