Date of release: Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Students work on the popular library planters at the Medway CampusGreenwich’s green credentials received a further boost as the university was shortlisted for two prestigious national prizes at the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) awards.

The university’s biodiversity action programme, which protects and enhances the wildlife at its campuses, is being considered by CIEEM judges for a Corporate Achievement Award.

In addition, research into the loss of agricultural land in Ghana’s Western Region, as a result of large-scale gold mining, could land Natural Resources Institute student Stephen Doso a CIEEM Student Project Award.

Bats, bees, breeding birds, wild plants and ornamental plantings at the Greenwich, Avery Hill and Medway campuses are the subject of wide-ranging surveys carried out by students, as part of the biodiversity programme.

They also undertake woodland management projects such as extensive meadow seeding with wild flowers, monitoring native species and traditional hedgelaying, and other activities approved by the Forestry Commission,

The programme is led by Dr Debbie Bartlett, Principal Lecturer in Environmental Management, who also heads the university’s MSc in Environmental Conservation – the first university course to be accredited by the CIEEM.

Dr Bartlett says: “The university has led the way by calling on its ecology and biodiversity expertise to join forces with its facilities management team. Together we ensure sustainability and biodiversity are at the heart of all our estate developments, from new buildings to repairs to existing facilities.

“All staff and students can get involved, as we spread awareness of the importance of sustaining and enhancing our native wildlife. Everyone is enjoying the benefits, as we create a more pleasant environment for all those living, working and studying at our campuses. Our planters designed for native bees and other pollinators outside the Drill Hall Library at Medway are particularly popular.”

Stephen Doso undertook his research while studying for an MSc in Sustainable Environmental Management at NRI – also part of the Faculty of Engineering & Science.

He highlighted how large-scale mining was restricting the production of food crops in rural mining communities and suggested ways mining companies and communities could work together to resolve the situation.

Stephen was supported during his studies by the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS), jointly funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), as part of the British aid programme. CSSS assists students of excellent academic calibre to benefit from higher education at a UK university.

Claire Coote, an agricultural economist at NRI, says: “It is a great achievement for Stephen to be selected as a finalist for this award, and we and we hope this will encourage others to follow in his footsteps.”

“A key part of NRI’s mission is to support the development of early career scientists and upgrade developing country research capacity in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”

The CIEEM awards ceremony takes place at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Thursday 26 June.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Students work on the popular library planters at the Medway Campus.