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.
The gardens and grounds at Penryn Campus have been recognised by the international Green Flag Award Scheme as among the very best in the world, for the sixth year in a row.
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity sKeep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.
Penryn Campus is shared by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter Cornwall and the historic grounds are open to the public.
Oliver Lane, FX Plus Director of Residences and Facilities, said: “We are delighted to have retained this award for a sixth year. It highlights the hard work of our teams and volunteers – both students and staff. Particular thanks should go to Toby Nenning, Grounds and Gardens manager, and Casey Thomas, Head of Facilities Management, and to their teams.
“Both Falmouth University and the University of Exeter are dedicated to sustainability under their Climate Emergency declarations and a key part of this involves supporting green spaces and the biodiversity on our beautiful campus.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s Accreditation Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making Penryn Campus worthy of a Green Flag Award. It is testament to all the hard work of staff who do so much to ensure that it maintains the high standards demanded by the Award.”
Penryn Campus blends historic sub-tropical planting with newly created landscapes. and are a haven for a diverse range of plant and animal species. The gardens are open to everyone include a walled garden; herbaceous beds; sub-tropical planting; fruit producing orchard; Italian garden and terraces; an 18th Century lime avenue; parkland; a drive with Pinetum native woodlands and historic rare rhododendrons which were cultivated on the site in the Victorian era.
A six-person Grounds Team manages about 150 acres there as well as the smaller, equally beautiful Falmouth Campus.
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…
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