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UCLan students plant secret garden

15 April 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Volunteers get digging for green initiative

Green fingered volunteers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have picked up their spades to create a forest garden in the heart of the Preston campus that will provide a leafy and environmentally sustainable haven for visitors.

The Secret Garden is the first of four areas on campus that will be transformed over the next two years as part of the Students’ Union (SU) Green Ladder Project, one of 25 unique national projects funded via the NUS Student Green Fund.

Once complete, this previously over-grown plot of land next to Foster Building will provide visitors with fruit trees, green surroundings and comfortable outdoor seating. It will also become a welcome place for local wildlife thanks to several bird and insect boxes that will hang there following a visit from the RSPB during UCLan’s annual Green Week.

Over 40 UCLan students have given up their time to take part in this first stage of the project which is due to be completed by Spring 2015. 

UCLan Secret Garden

"The project has attracted a lot of students who are new to volunteering so it’s fantastic to see them engage with the University and learn new skills at the same time."

Emma Bartlet, Green Ladder Project Manager, commented: “This is the first time students have been given the opportunity to take ownership of the campus in this way and they’ve really put a lot into it. The project has attracted a lot of students who are new to volunteering so it’s fantastic to see them engage with the University and learn new skills at the same time.”

Syeda Batool, a 19-year-old psychology student, has been involved in the scheme from the beginning.

She said: “We’ve worked hard to dig up the overgrown weeds and add new plants, most of the time in the rain, so we’re all really excited to see what the garden will look like once things start to grow. We have several ideas of ways to further enhance the area so it’s exciting to watch the project develop.”

The UCLan SU has received £200,000 from the NUS Student Green Fund to set up volunteering in the community and to enhance the campus in order to further embed sustainability into the University and into students’ lives.

The entire venture is student-led with ideas for all four sites coming from the student community with an emphasis around reducing environmental impact by growing vegetables, improving biodiversity and using recycled materials in green areas. People from the local communities will be welcome to visit the transformed areas on campus and surplus grown food will be offered to local food banks.

The SU Green Ladder project is an on-going initiative and new volunteers are welcome to join in and bring their own ideas to the project. For more information about getting involved you can visit the Green Ladder blog or watch a student made film about the project.