Stirling is one of UK’s most wildlife-friendly Universities according to new study

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The Scottish University has been recognised as one of the UK’s leading universities for thriving wildlife care on campus and in the wider Stirling community.

A new study conducted in January of 2023 has revealed that the University of Stirling met 100% of the ranking factors in doing all possible to protect its wildlife. Ark Wildlife has recognised the university with a Platinum tier of wildlife care.

Ark Wildlife surveyed 122 UK universities on their wildlife support, both on and off campus.

The institutions were asked questions about wildlife-protecting policies on campus, partnerships or funding donations to local wildlife causes, biodiversity activities outside of academics, and whether a wildlife survey has been conducted between January of 2021 and November 2022.

What initiatives does the University of Stirling take in supporting their wildlife?

The University of Stirling’s contribution to wildlife is clear in the opportunities for staff and students to take part in wildlife activities. These include guided walks with organisations such as the Bat Conservation Trust and its Garden Club.

They also take part in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative and participate in the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project.

Stirling University has committed to promoting biodiversity on their campus grounds with their sustainability policies effective in taking care of their diverse wildlife. Such activities are the most overlooked factors for wildlife awareness in other Universities according to the study.

The university also hosts Scotland’s International Environment Centre, working on many cases including the mapping of urban tree coverage in Stirling and Clackmannanshire to preserve the network.

How do other universities compare?

Director of Ark Wildlife Sean McMenemy says, “It’s clear that some universities are taking wildlife conservation extremely seriously, and it’s great to see. They’re really in tune with the local environment, providing invaluable habitats to animals in the area.

“Importantly, the most wildlife-friendly universities are actively encouraging students to become involved. This will breed greater awareness of conservation methods and just how vital wildlife is to the UK.”

84% of universities within this study are involved in at least one initiative for local wildlife, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Amongst Stirling, other Universities in the Platinum tier include the Universities of Dundee, Glasgow, St. Andrews, Oxford, Sussex, and York.

Secretary of the Wildlife Conservation Society at the University of Stirling, Elif Yildirim says, “I think Stirling is definitely deserving of the Platinum tier ranking. Our Union is pushing to go vegan to lower our Carbon Footprint and it has its own biodiversity action plan which is amazing.

“The society will be involved in the planting of a large wildflower meadow this month on campus, so I am also really looking forward to seeing that all come together. I think what gives our university the edge is its location- central to lots of geological diversity and access to so many different types of Scottish landscape!”

These findings highlight the gap among UK universities leading to calls for higher standards of biodiversity protection.

To view the full report, you can visit the Ark Wildlife website.

Feature Image Credit: Alexandria Hanneman, University of Stirling.

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