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Sustainability at York St John


Our plan to improve the environment for wildlife across our campuses.

An individual tending to a beehive

We are dedicated to enhancing biodiversity on our estates.

What we've achieved

We have a comprehensive biodiversity plan, aiming to improve the environment for wildlife on our campuses:

  • We have planted more than 1000 trees on our campuses in the past few years.
  • On our main campus on Lord Mayor's Walk, we have created bug hotels, bird boxes and log pile habitats for hedgehogs, insects and invertebrates.
  • At our York St John University Sports Park, we have created a thriving wildlife pond, community allotments, beehives and an apple orchard.
  • We have partnered with the Tansy Beetle Action Group (TBAG) to develop an ark habitat by planting tansy to support the endangered Tansy Beetle, which is mainly found around the River Ouse which flows through York.
  • We have partnered with York Rotary to plant a tree for every child born in York in 2018/19.

You can explore our biodiversity projects with our Sustainability and Biodiversity Map.

Our goals

We have plans to support biodiversity across all our sites, including at student residences. Our aim is to increase the diversity of habitats and species. When appropriate, we aim to include biophilic elements in our internal projects, including inside the Enterprise Centre, De Grey foyer, and the Graduate Centre.

Ongoing measures

On our main campus at Lord Mayor's Walk, we have installed bird boxes for a range of species including swifts and peregrine falcons, and insect hotels and log piles for hedgehogs and invertebrates. Our grounds are maintained beautifully by the Grounds team. Some grass areas are left to overgrow in the summer and a wildflower meadow has been established behind the chapel. Our newly installed pond in front of the Creative Centre already serves as a rest stop for several bird species.

Our green waste, which was previously taken off-site, is now composted at our Haxby Road extension.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

We have participated in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme since 2019 and achieved Gold status in February 2023.

Efforts to make our campus more hedgehog friendly have included establishing wildflower areas and leaving grass areas long to provide food sources and shelter. We have also planted hedgehog friendly plant species, and put hedgehog houses in the log piles that provide a retreat for wildlife. We have also installed permanent feeding stations and put out water bowls to support our hedgehog population.

If you would like to get involved in helping hedgehogs on campus, please email