October 30, 2014, by Lindsay Brooke
Bats find safe haven on University Park
Just in time for Halloween, the Grounds team have been putting up roosting boxes for the flourishing bat population at University Park.
The bats are attracted to growing numbers of insects which in turn are thriving as the University encourages wildlife-rich meadow grassland.
Grounds staff are putting up more bat boxes for the two most common species, Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentoni) and Common Pipestrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus). About 40 bat boxes will go up in woodland at University Park and at the Sutton Bonington Campus.
The bat boxes were made for the University by a Mencap project group. The charity’s project groups help build vocational, work and social skills and Lead Co-ordinator of the Nottinghamshire Mencap Projects, Sue Poulter said: “It’s amazing what people with a learning disability can achieve when given the opportunity.
“The added value is that people feel part of their community and gain so much self worth and confidence from doing projects like this. We’re looking forward to the next challenge!”
Helen Rutherford, an Environmental Officer with the Estates Office said: “We invited Mencap users and their carers to join us for a bat walk and it was great to for them to see boxes go up. Our beautifully landscaped campus grounds and gardens are open for all to enjoy – we recently added more than 50 bird boxes and projects like this underline our commitment to encouraging wildlife-rich habitats.”
Helen said meadow grasslands on University Park have been increased to 10 hectares, and this policy, which enriches biodiversity and encourages wildlife, is being rolled out across the four main campuses.
Although bats are associated with Halloween – don’t worry, the chances are that at this time of year they are normally hibernating.
Our Service Users at Mencap enjoyed making the bat boxes for the university and especially liked seeing their boxes being fixed to the trees. Lee said ‘I realized they would be high but did not realise they would be put up that high’ … this is so the boxes are in line with the flight path of the bats I was told. The boxes were made at the Mencap Rushcliffe Project which is based in the Meadows Youth Centre in the Meadows , Nottingham. We were all excited to see the story about our project in the university blog and it also appeared in Connect magazine in December , which is the national magazine for Mencap staff, publishing news about projects nationwide. Hopefully we can make more bat boxes and other animal boxes for the university in the future as all of the service users and staff enjoyed constructing the boxes and learnt so much about bats and the environment too as well as carpentry skills.