~ minute read.

Every Flower Counts

August 8, 2022

We are committed to supporting biodiversity and sustainability on our campuses. Part of this involves twice yearly flower counts which not only give us an estimate of how many bees we support but also to measure the benefits of changing the mowing regime on areas of land.

Since 2020, Every Flower Counts surveys are carried out by the Grounds Team twice a year, at the end of May and the end of July. They help to track changes and to compare different areas, including unmowed grass areas, wildflower turfed areas, seeded areas and more.

Most areas surveyed are the same each year but some vary, depending on which are being left wild/unmowed.

Alasdair Garnett, FX Plus Groundsperson, explained: “The surveys give us a rough idea of how areas are performing. From the latest (July 22) survey, we can see that our grassland is healthy and benefitting wildlife. And, as we’ve seen recently with goldfinches on the Ox Eye Daisy bank, once the bees have enjoyed the flowers the birds get the use of the seeds.

“We use volunteers to manage and improve the big wild areas, raking the cut grass and sowing wildflower seeds, and this year we also have many young plants grown from seed which will be planted from September onwards. We’ll be organising regular volunteering sessions from Freshers through the winter to help with this.”

Plantlife organises Every Flower Counts as a way of supporting plants and pollinators. The survey allows participants to calculate the difference they are making for nature with their Personal Nectar Score.

Counts include the number of individual, open flowers and flower richness – the number of different flowering species present.

The Plantlife results are displayed differently this year, preventing comparison with previous years but the Grounds Team is hoping to be able to compare future years from now on.

The July 2022 results headlines for Penryn Campus are:

  • Number of flowers on all areas surveyed: 2,884,918 (estimate) which gives –
  • Enough nectar sugar to support 112,521 honeybee workers per day.
  • Enough pollen produced to support 15,857 mining bee brood cells/larvae or around 1586 bumblebee larvae.

About FX Plus

Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus) delivers shared services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in Cornwall to ensure a top quality experience for students, staff and all users of Falmouth and Penryn campuses.

Our vision is to provide ‘Exceptional environments that enable talented and creative minds to thrive’.

~ minute read.

Celebrating Silver

January 28, 2022

Penryn and Falmouth campuses have progressed from a bronze to a silver award from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) Hedgehog Friendly Campus programme.

The Hedgehog Friendly Campus project is a UK-wide initiative which aims to turn university campuses into places where hedgehogs can thrive.

Oliver Milliner is Head of Sustainability for Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus), the organisation that looks after services shared between Falmouth University and the University of Exeter at Falmouth and Penryn campuses.

He said: “We’re really pleased to have achieved this silver award and will be aiming for gold next year. Big thanks to all the teams who work together to keep our beautiful grounds full of biodiversity and, of course, hedgehog friendly. I’d also like to thank our Sustainability Intern Amber Brett who put this silver bid together.

“Staff and students have an opportunity to play an active role in what we do in the future so if any of you want to help us get to gold please contact me at sustainability@fxplus.ac.uk

To earn the silver award, the FX Plus Sustainability and Grounds teams worked together to complete a series of tasks that help to protect and support hedgehog life on campus. These included:

  • Involving the Students’ Union in hedgehog friendly activities.
  • Start working towards pesticide free grounds management.
  • Organising campus litter picks.
  • Increasing the number of hedgehog friendly plants and trees.
  • Creating log piles which are a good hibernation habitat for hedgehogs.

To achieve Gold, FX Plus will need to focus on actions that leave a long-lasting legacy for hedgehogs on campus, such as:

  • Meeting the pesticide reduction targets set at silver.
  • Installation of a hedgehog crossing sign.
  • Setting up hedgehog feeding stations.
  • Establishing a hedgehog society which can run surveys and workshops.
  • Running hedgehog surveys in the local community.

Some facts about hedgehogs:

Since 2020, hedgehogs are listed as ‘Vulnerable to Extinction’ on Britain’s Red List.

They have declined by 50% in rural areas & 30% in urban areas since the year 2000.

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t eat bread – meaty pet food and fresh water is best if you want to feed wild hedgehogs.

Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets.

Strimmers and mowers can harm hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs hibernate in winter, from around November to March/April.

If you are worried about a hedgehog, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801.

About FX Plus

Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus) delivers shared services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in Cornwall to ensure a top quality experience for students, staff and all users of Falmouth and Penryn campuses.

Our vision is to provide ‘Exceptional environments that enable talented and creative minds to thrive’.

~ minute read.

Biodiversity signs

October 28, 2021

Four new biodiversity signs have been installed at Penryn Campus to highlight the variety of natural habitats, unique ecologies and the conservation plans in place. 

The signs have been placed at Lime Avenue, the Walled Garden, the Ox Eye Daisy Bank (near the Chapel Lecture Theatre) and in woodland near The Lodge.

They complement the existing wildflower signs which highlight even more ways in which biodiversity is encouraged on our campuses.

Our Grounds and Sustainability teams work hard to encourage biodiversity on our beautiful campuses. This includes creating bee hotels; planting bee friendly plants; leaving areas unmown and seeded with wildflowers; leaving dead trees in situ so creatures can make them their homes and joining the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative. Recent planting has included herb and daisy beds outside The Exchange and herb and flower beds near The Stannary extension.

Wildflowers encourage more insects which, in turn, support more birds and bats. We have seven species of bat on campus, including pipistrelle, long eared and horseshoe and they regularly feed on insects in the wildflower areas around Glasney Village (the student and holiday accommodation).

This combination of efforts also contributes to Penryn Campus holding the international Green Flag award for five years in a row. Green Flag recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.

About FX Plus

Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus) delivers shared services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in Cornwall to ensure a top quality experience for students, staff and all users of Falmouth and Penryn campuses.

Our vision is to provide ‘Exceptional environments that enable talented and creative minds to thrive’.

~ minute read.

Biodiversity Day 21

May 6, 2021

Saturday 21 May is #BiodiversityDay. Our Grounds Team works hard to encourage biodiversity on our beautiful campuses. We have bee hotels, plant bee friendly plants, leave areas unmown and seed with wildflowers, leave some dead trees in situ so creatures can make them their homes and more. Recent new planting has included herb and daisy beds outside The Exchange and herb and flower beds near The Stannary.

Wildflowers encourage more insects which, in turn, support more birds and bats. We have seven species of bat on campus, including pipistrelle, long eared and horseshoe and they regularly feed on insects in the wildflower areas around Glasney Village (the student and holiday accommodation).

FX Plus Head Gardener Toby Nenning said: “Wildflowers are really important. We cut down some areas to provide more usable spaces for students, and employees and sometimes it’s for safety – for instance, making sure visibility is clear for vehicles. But we are keen to balance this with wilder areas. Sometimes these spots look overgrown but are actually full of campions, ox-eye daisy, early purple orchid, marsh orchid, field forget-me-not, viper’s bugloss, corn marigold, ragged robin, poppies, teasel and much more.”

It’s a good time of year for wildflowers so why not take time to walk round Penryn Campus, get some fresh air, relax and enjoy…

About FX Plus

Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus) delivers shared services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in Cornwall to ensure a top quality experience for students, staff and all users of Falmouth and Penryn campuses.

Our vision is to provide ‘Exceptional environments that enable talented and creative minds to thrive’.

~ minute read.

Little Wonders Wild Challenge

March 12, 2021

The Little Wonders Nursery team at Penryn Campus has joined the RSPB Wild Challenge.

So far the staff have helped the children to make a frog-friendly habitat for some resident frogs; dig a hole for a small pond and plant some Starwort to oxygenate the water; recycle some old wooden cot sides to make a fence to protect the habitat and plant some wildflower seeds to create a butterfly garden.

Rosie Hillier, Day Nursery Nurse Little Wonders, said: “The challenge has given us lots of ides to educate our children in ways to make our garden more wildlife friendly.

“We found a particularly large frog hiding under a pallet so we asked the children to come up with some names for the frogs. Our favourite is ‘Susan’, so we are thinking of naming the frog area ‘Susan’s spot’.

“The children have also prepared a ‘wildlife tracker’ to put out in the garden. It consists of a tray of sand with a bowl of food in the centre and we are hoping to see the prints of any animals that come to eat it. The children have discussed what animals we might get… Frogs, Hedgehogs, Cats, Owls or wolves…!”

To read more about the RSPB Wild Challenge, click this link.

About FX Plus

Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus) delivers shared services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in Cornwall to ensure a top quality experience for students, staff and all users of Falmouth and Penryn campuses.

Our vision is to provide ‘Exceptional environments that enable talented and creative minds to thrive’.