Hartpury has won a top award for its work to improve and protect the Gloucestershire landscape.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust recognised the environmentally sensitive way in which Hartpury manages its estate and the important work of its staff and students with the ‘Exceptional Contribution by a Landowner to Gloucestershire’s Living Landscape’ award.
Hartpury was honoured in the Trust’s 2013 Nature Works business awards, sponsored by former winners Ecotricity and supported by Diane Savory and David Owen from GFirst.
Dr Alan Hill, Head of Department for Animal and Land Sciences, who received the award, said: “This award recognises the contribution students on our Conservation and Countryside Management programme make to the wider Gloucestershire landscape, as well as how well Hartpury manages the competing demands on its very diverse estate.
“Our students’ exploration of British wildlife does not stop with the Hartpury estate. They do a great deal of important conservation work venturing into the surrounding countryside and urban areas.”
A long term study is currently taking place across Gloucester with students looking at winter activity of hedgehogs and the impact of cats on hedgehog behaviour.
Hartpury is also currently developing an exciting farm biodiversity plan that will map all the features and habitats of the estate with surveys taking place in the coming months. The new plan will strengthen the links between agriculture and conservation management at Hartpury. It will also make recommendations for the management of the estate over the next five to 10 years.
Staff and students are regularly involved in surveys of the estate, including for small mammals under The Mammal Society’s Mini-Mammal Monitoring Scheme, for hedgehogs using The Mammal Society’s footprint tunnels and for bats.
Each year, four or five Hartpury students work on placement with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust as volunteer reserves managers. They gain practical, personal and professional skills that will help them find work when they graduate
Jim Swanson, Manager of the Conservation and Countryside Management Programme, said: ‘’We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious prize and very proud of our conservation students, who are the reason for our nomination.
“Our students are given an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the global environmental context and the future challenges society faces but they are also immersed in the Hartpury estate during their studies. This gives them an exceptional grounding in sustainable land management in the UK and protecting our ecosystem.”