Student volunteers take action to preserve green spaces

Issue date: 28 November 2014

A green shoot pushing through soil.

UWE Bristol student volunteers have started a new project 'GreenSpace' which aims to support green sites local to Frenchay campus. They will be focusing on two areas of woodland, Splatts Abbey Wood in South Gloucestershire and Sims Hill Community Woodland, on the Bristol side of campus.

UWE Volunteering has been getting students involved in conservation projects near to the University and further afield for many years. This summer, they began to build a relationship with the Splatts Abbey Wood Conservation Group which looks after a historic corner of woodland just off the Filton ring road.

Jo Earl from UWE Volunteering said, “We're thrilled to be supporting these two groups and getting our students involved on these two sites. It is a great opportunity for UWE students with a passion for the natural environment to coordinate and lead regular work parties and have a positive impact really close where they live and study.

On Saturday 29 November, 10 students will be undertaking coppicing at Splatts Abbey Wood, supporting the existing conservation group to carry out essential work as part of their management plan. Coppicing is a process that allows more light to reach the woodland floor and encourage vegetation, as well as developing habitat around the coppice stools for insects and small mammals. During the winter months there are plenty of essential woodland management tasks, and the students are working closely with both conservation prjects to plan volunteering days.

David Bell from Splatts Abbey Wood Conservation Group said, "The Splatts Abbey Wood Group is incredibly grateful to UWE Volunteering and the UWE Student volunteers for their help and support. The UWE Volunteering team has put a great deal of effort into this project and the students have been enthusiastic and hardworking, and are a credit to themselves and to UWE. They are helping to get a lot of important work done. The Splatts group is also delighted to be able to offer Students the opportunity to volunteer and enhance their experience and skills."

Jo Earl explained, “As well as being beautiful sites to spend the day in, the practical conservation tasks encourage knowledge exchange between local organisations, community members and our students, bringing people together to benefit from and preserve these valuable spaces.”

Student project leader, Bianca Meredith, said, “The project is a brilliant opportunity in many aspects. It provides a proactive approach to conservation in our local area and to be actively involved with both fellow students, the local community and also professional conservation bodies. The experience is invaluable and the skills and knowledge we gain are transferable throughout our studies and beyond. In the current times a deeper understanding and appreciation for our environment and how we can assist with its preservation is vital, so a project such as this that raises awareness and participation is perfect.”

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