EDC Students Get Involved in one of the North East’s Largest Wildlife Conservation Projects

Thu, 21/11/2019 - 15:41

Land and Wildlife Management students at East Durham College recently got involved in a huge project with Durham Wildlife Trust, to preserve the green infrastructure at Follingsby Max.

The Follingsby site is currently one of the most important industrial projects in the north east. The developers recently signed a contract with Durham Wildlife Trust to ensure that the industrial developments include and develop a green infrastructure zone. The site has planning consent in place for up to 2,500,000 sq ft.

Durham Wildlife Trust will be collaborating with our Land and Wildlife students to preserve the site and show what can be achieved if developers place value on the preservation and maintenance of natural wildlife and ecology.

27 Level 2 and Level 3 students, who study at the college's Houghall Campus, in Durham, recently took a trip to look at some current wildlife mitigation work being carried out on site.

During the first half of the trip, students learned about the different habitats that exist in and around the site; how these habitats will be maintained, cared for and monitored to ensure wildlife can flourish before, during and long after the site developments are established. They also had a look at the current ponds created on site and carried out planting of pond species. The second half of the trip consisted of our students learning how to create a hibernaculum, a safe habitat where animals can hibernate or take shelter over the winter, creating natural environments for the growth of wildlife.

So far, the developers have overseen the planting of 22,000 trees, alongside the creation of three extra ponds on top of the initial site requirements. In addition, 40 bird nesting boxes have been installed, mainly in the woodland areas. Yet, this is only the start, as more plans are underway to ensure the overall maintenance and development of the green infrastructure zone will encourage and support natural wildlife habitats on site. The site will be monitored over the next five years to ensure biodiversity is being increased, not just maintained.

The conservation of the site is a massive opportunity for current Land and Wildlife students to get some high-quality learning experience of how their course fits into real life, including building, planning and industrial development scenarios, and highlights the importance of conservation in the modern world.

Previously known as countryside management, Land and Wildlife Management is based on Houghall’s stunning 476-acre campus and is a primarily hands-on practical course, where students can be certain they’ll be outdoors getting to know all things land and wildlife. Want to find out more? Click here!