An exciting collaborative project is underway on campus. Sparsholt Land and Wildlife Management students and BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation degree students have come together to create a Wetland Reserve. The project was born out of the practical need to rejuvenate an area of land which was being flooded by the college lake. Stuart Robertson, Conservation and Wildlife lecturer, said “We decided that rather than just fixing the area so it didn’t flood we would embrace what was happening naturally and turn it into something that could be useful and educational for students.”
Students have been removing redundant fences and constructing new ones, cutting back vegetation and scrub and creating a stream to divert water flow. This project is not only giving current students great hands-on experience it’s creating a great educational resource for the future. Once the area settles and the vegetation starts growing in the spring, the area will have great observational and research potential and students will be able to undertake surveys of the area.
Stuart added: “This is another great facility for the College estate; it’s a great teaching tool which is on-site and easy to access. Other knock-on benefits include being a peaceful recreational area and re-opening a part of the campus which before was unusable. The area will have minimal disturbance once it’s been established and will hopefully encourage new species of wildlife to settle there, as well as providing habitats and food sources for existing species.”
Although the site has already come a long way it is still currently a work in progress. Upcoming work to complete includes installation of a boardwalk, more scrub removal to encourage regrowth and connecting the stream with an existing ditch to encourage an increase in dragonfly and other invertebrate populations. So stay tuned as we watch this area take shape and come to life.