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SOS-UK receives grant for exciting Wilding Campuses pilot

April 22, 2024

SOS-UK has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £210,000 for Wilding Campuses, our exciting natural heritage project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the Nottingham-based pilot focuses on the importance of returning wild nature to land owned by universities, colleges and schools.

Nature is under threat:

We are in an ecological crisis and the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Nature recovery is a matter of urgency and returning to wilder ecosystems shouldn’t be left to a few large landowners or the big conservation charities. Everyone who owns or manages land needs to help restore nature, creating a rich patchwork of biodiversity and improving access to nature for everyone. Our Wilding Campuses Pilot will demonstrate good practice in this area and ensure campuses create wilder natural spaces for the students, staff and young people that need it. 

What is Wilding Campuses?

SOS-UK's Wilding Campuses is a pilot project providing opportunities for students and young people across Nottingham to create wild spaces and connect with nature. The project will see campuses committing to changes in land management practices with the introduction of wilder habitats. There will also be opportunities for staff, students and the community to take part in practical skills sessions, wellbeing activities, and biodiversity monitoring.  

Nottingham Partnership:

Nottinghamshire has seen a 97% decline in flower-rich meadows and 90% decline in heathland since the 1920’s and there are several species and habitats of conservation concern in the area. Wilding Campuses aims to stem the flow of biodiversity loss by returning wild nature to campuses. We’re taking a regional partnership approach with The University of Nottingham, Nottingham College and Bluecoat Aspley Academy, three urban campuses who will work together to boost nature recovery and natural heritage in Nottinghamshire. While other similar projects work with institutions in isolation, Wilding Campuses will demonstrate the benefits of this collaborative approach.

Why is Wilding Campuses important to students?

SOS-UK believe young people should lead the conversation on the ecological emergency and be given opportunities to make a positive difference. SOS-UK research conducted in August 2023 shows that 86% of students think that all universities/colleges should act to protect and support nature in their grounds or on other land they own and 64% of students think their university/college should provide opportunities for students to experience. However, 19% of students don't have a way to get to places where they can enjoy nature near them and only 1% of respondents actively engage in conservation activities where they learn. 

Work begins in May 2024 and ends in April 2026.

Find out more at https://www.sos-uk.org/project/wilding-campuses  

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Thanks to National Lottery players