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World Wildlife Day at SOS-UK

Bethany Holmes
March 3, 2023

At SOS-UK, we strive to do our best for the environment, wildlife, and those around us. Today we celebrate what Students Organising for Sustainability UK is doing to help wildlife, as well as how you can get involved in wildlife-related activities to better your knowledge and support the wildlife around you.

Recent news

  • SOS-UK are about to begin a project wilding 30% of the grounds at 12 secondary schools across England!
  • For 2024, SOS-UK are offering biodiversity action weeks as part of our work engaging students in residences, which will include a week focused on supporting local wildlife.
  • SOS-UK have joined The Pesticide Collaboration, run by Pesticide Action Network UK and the RSPB. Pesticides harm many things we care about, yet the area of land treated by pesticides has increased by 63% since 1990. The body of evidence revealing the harms caused by pesticides to human health and the natural world is also increasing. The Pesticide Collaboration brings environmental organisations together to reduce pesticide-related harms. Our gardens should be havens for wildlife, take a minute to ask UK supermarkets to take pesticide products off their shelves using this template.
  • Hedgehog Friendly Campus gave out 92 accreditations during their 2022-2023 award year! Find out which institutions are hedgehog friendly by reading our blog.
  • SOS-UK delivered a Biodiversity Crisis webinar in January, focusing on what is causing the loss of biodiversity and how we can help reverse the trend! Catch up on YouTube.
  • We’ve promoted Zero Hour’s campaign on the Climate & Ecology Bill! To help reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, sign here.

Green Impact

Green Impact is our award-winning programme that helps support organisations embed sustainability within their workplace culture. Teams of colleagues are encouraged to implement a range of sustainability actions broken down into manageable themes, of which biodiversity is one of them! Through raising awareness, taking part in national campaigns, and collaboration teams are taking positive action for biodiversity as part of our programme!

In 2022, 650 Green Impact actions were completed on biodiversity, supporting staff to take positive action in their workplaces.

Farming for Carbon & Nature

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a teaspoon of soil than people on Earth? And that all wildlife depends on these organisms to survive. This is why SOS-UK's project, Farming for Carbon & Nature is working with universities, colleges and students to help farms increase biodiversity on their farms from their soil to their hedges and everything in between.

We have 10 farms signed up for the pilot so far and 200 students will be visiting those farms between March and May to do baseline surveys of earthworms, farmland birds, hedgehogs and other mammals, hedgerows, flying insects, and wild arable plants.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Did you know that hedgehogs are vulnerable to extinction in Britain? This is due to habitat loss, development, roads and garden hazards. There are now thought to be fewer than one million hedgehogs left. Funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and delivered by us, Hedgehog Friendly Campus gives awards to universities, FE colleges and primary schools that complete hedgehog-friendly actions to protect hedgehogs, enhance their habitat and educate others on how they can help. Whether your grounds are green or urban, you can help to bring hedgehogs back from the brink. You can find out more information here.

During the 2022-23 award year:

  • Over 3,500 trees have been planted through HFC
  • Nearly 1,500 bags of litter collected through HFC
  • Over 550 reports of hedgehogs across 36 universities, colleges and schools through HFC.

Students For Trees

Students For Trees is a student-led network supporting students across the UK to learn about, and to take action for, woods and trees, to help fight the climate and nature crises. Each year, our Students For Trees Council reaches out to student societies, community groups and HE/FE staff to encourage students and staff across the UK to improve the biodiversity of their local area or campus by applying for the Woodland Trust’s free tree packs.

Last year, 22 student groups planted over 5,000 trees, and in 2023 we’ve had 38 groups apply for a total of 7,285 free trees for planting in March! Students For Trees also run various events and promote woodland-themed initiatives throughout the year. You can sign up to hear more about our events and free tree packs as a Students For Trees Branch group, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter to get involved!

We delivered a Guide To Tree Planting Workshop last week that you can find on our YouTube.

Opportunities for you to get involved in!

  • Our webinar on Wildlife Tracks and Signs is coming up on the 4thMay, you can register here.
  • How to apply for November 2023 trees:

Step 1: Fill in our short Students For Trees Tracking Form to let us know you are applying for trees – this allows us to track which educational institutions are involved in planting and allows us to provide extra support to you ahead of tree planting.

Step 2: Once you click ‘Submit’ on the tracking form you will then be directed to the main Woodland Trust’s School & Community tree application form, which you will need to fill in with all the full details of your tree planting order (e.g. landowner permission, coordinates, number and type of trees and long term aftercare plans).

Please ensure you fill in this second form after clicking submit on the tracking form to complete your order for free trees for November 2023.