Borders College is receiving funding from the International Tree Foundation (ITF) to support tree planting on its Galashiels and Hawick campuses.
The UK Tree Planting Programme will help see several tree species planted in designated areas and form part of more comprehensive biodiversity improvements across the campuses, which includes bulb planting, habitat creation, and bug hotels.
The project will tie in with the College’s Sustainability Strategy, outlining the ambition to improve their campuses' biodiversity and provide students and staff with opportunities to learn about sustainability and the environment around them.
As part of the project, the College’s Horticulture students and staff have helped develop the proposals further and have been involved in the design, measurement, and costing process. Students from the Introduction to Countryside Skills and Landscaping courses and volunteers from Borders College’s student and staff body have also been involved.
The proposed tree planting forms part of wider plans for improving the biodiversity of the College over a longer period. By increasing the number of trees on the campuses, the College also aims to improve the green spaces for local wildlife and students and staff alike – particularly as there is a growing interest and recognition of the importance of outdoor spaces for health and wellbeing.
The College’s Biodiversity Working Group will oversee the project, provide long-term support, and ensure that improvements are maintained and continued. The Students’ Association will promote volunteering opportunities and student and staff volunteers will be used to carry out planting and subsequent maintenance activity.
Head of Sector for Rural Skills at Borders College, Andrew Johnson, said:
“Our Sustainability Strategy outlines the aims and actions towards a greener future, and this partnership will ensure we help meet our targets for biodiversity, with many trees and hedges planted in the college grounds over the coming years.
“As well as increasing biodiversity and giving opportunities for education and engagement with environmental issues, this project will make the campus more beautiful and provide a green space that can be so beneficial to mental health.”