Sussex wins award for supporting local bee population
Posted on behalf of: Sussex Estates and Facilities
Last updated: Wednesday, 11 November 2020
The University of Sussex has been presented with a Bees’ Needs Champions award for 2020, recognising efforts at the University to provide a welcome habitat for bees on campus.
This marks the third year in a row Sussex has won the award, which was presented to just 32 organisations this year, recognising exceptional efforts in bee conservation and supporting pollinating insects. 82 species of bee have been documented on campus this year, alongside a diverse range of other invertebrates.
Our naturalised campus is managed by the Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF) Grounds team, who work all year round to cultivate a welcoming environment for local insects, largely through the maintenance of wildflower gardens across campus planted from 40 varieties of pollinating plants.
SEF works with the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) in the School of Life Sciences, which studies honeybees and other social insects, to achieve a natural balance between maintaining campus grounds while fulfilling the biodiversity need of our local environment.
Dr. Karin Alton, Research Fellow at LASI, said: "It's great to see that the University continues to provide floral diversity for a variety of pollinators, including bees, across campus. The new native meadow on the corner of Refectory Road and Boiler House Hill looked spectacular this year when in full bloom."
Six new wildflower gardens were planted this year in addition to the 10 already on campus. These locations include Northfield, Lewes Court, Sussex House, the Meeting House, Falmer House, Arts, the Attenborough Centre, and the subway leading to Falmer train station. These are important as they provide a major food source for local pollinating insects.
Other initiatives have included a traditional mowing regime encouraging natural seeding by Stanmer Park, lecterns with information on biodiversity at Sussex, and managing chalk downland meadows to support native species. We also have a number of self-sustaining ponds on campus to support a diverse range of aquatic and insect life.
Ashley Wilcox, Grounds and Pest Control Manager at SEF, said: “It’s fantastic to see recognition for all the hard work undertaken by our groundskeepers and staff at the University.
“Supporting biodiversity on campus is very important given the local environment we are situated in, ensuring that local wildlife can thrive while maintaining a high quality environment for students and staff to study and work in.”
More information on groundskeeping and cultivating biodiversity at Sussex is available on the SEF website.