Take a look at all of our upcoming Green Lancaster events, get involved and join the team in 2022/23.
Our ecological restoration project right here on University land and in collaboration with partners across the North of England.
ECOWoods Action Days
We regularly meet with volunteer students and staff during term-time for our ECOWoods fix. Each session is slightly different and presents a great opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge, gain practical experience of nature restoration work and give back to nature, all whilst spending time outdoors, with likeminded people.
We meet at the ECOHub on Southwest Campus and walk over to the site. Activities include native tree planting and aftercare, coppicing, spring bulb planting, tree seed collection and sowing, wildflower meadow management, natural building, and hedgerow and woodland maintenance. We provide equipment such as wellies and waterproofs if necessary.
We always find time to sit down and have a cuppa and biscuit! This is a great opportunity to relax in nature and get to know one another.Events
ECOWoods Field Trips
Our field trips run regularly throughout the year giving our community the opportunity to get hands-on experience and learn about innovative natural solutions to the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Through the programme, we visit a range of landscapes and ecosystems, carrying out a range of tasks at each site aimed at restoring, maintaining and developing natural habitats and environments.
Restoring Hardknott Forest
Set in the Duddon Valley, one of the largest conifer plantations in the Lake District, Hardknott Forest is a 666-hectare landscape-scale nature restoration project. In a partnership with the University of Leeds and Forestry England, the project is being designed and implemented as a natural climate solution with specific benefits to nature and people. For more information, visit the Restoring Hardknott Forest webpage.
Wild Ingleborough is a wide-reaching partnership to improve biodiversity and regenerate habitats for wildlife across large-scale areas of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales from the valley floor to the top of the mountain. This will aid nature’s recovery in this part of North Yorkshire by supporting low intensity farming and helping wildlife to be more resilient in the face of the climate emergency and other pressures. Find out more on the Wild Ingleborough website.
Wild Haweswater is a joint initiative between the RSPB and United Utilities. At the heart of this rugged Lake District landscape, nature restoration works alongside hill farming, for nature, water and people. Ancient Atlantic oakwood are protected, uplands, woodlands and natural processes restored, rivers re-naturalised, peat bogs rewetted, and floodplains reconnected. For more information, visit the Wild Haweswater website.
Eight hundred and fifty years ago, the earliest known member of the Lowther family established himself in the corner of Cumbria that is now known as the Lowther. Today, together with the reintroduction of ecosystem engineers, it is managed in a way that promotes a more natural environment where biodiversity and species richness increases. To find out more, visit the Lowther Estate website.
Why get involved?
The ECOWoods project started in 2018 and since then has developed to become a year-round, inclusive programme for staff and students.
According to the 2021 State of the UK’s Woods and Trees report by the Woodland Trust, less than 7 percent of the UK’s land area is covered by broadleaf woodland and only 2.5 percent by ancient woodland.
We aim to reinstate natural processes (such as grazing, flooding, and woodland regeneration), improve biodiversity, reconnect fragmented habitats, sequestrate and store carbon, as well as create opportunities for nature-based recreation, connection and wellbeing. We are also harbouring discussions around the role that keystone-species reintroduction could serve in reinvigorating ecosystem-services and trophic cascades.
The ECOWoods project is firmly anchored in principles of ecosystem restoration, natural regeneration, and natural climate solutions. It also encourages a connection as well as a balance between humans and the rest of nature, for the benefit of all. We hope that participants can nurture their relationship with nature by engaging with it through their senses, taking time to appreciate its beauty from big landscapes to small insects, feeling awe and wonder for its complex ecosystems, and acting from a place of compassion by volunteering to have a positive impact.
We really believe this large-scale project can and will leave a long-standing legacy for future generations, contributing long-term to the positive outcomes of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
Every year, we run a number of dedicated sessions for specific groups such as teaching modules, departments, or societies.
Dates and times are flexible and there are lots of benefits to taking part in an ECOWoods session. The sessions are good for getting out in the open, building team spirit and give volunteers a great level of satisfaction. If you are interested in booking a dedicated session for your group, email us at email@example.com.
Using hazel stakes from the ECOHub coppice, our ECOWoods volunteers have built a set of steps to facilitate access to one of our sites at Forrest Hills.
Wildflower meadow and hedgerow management work at the ECOHub. Volunteers help us rake grass cuttings and leaves off the wildflower meadow areas that we sowed last year. Wildflower meadows don't like nutrient rich soil, to which organic material contributes if left to decompose.
Tree planting is one of our main activities over the winter months. We plant a variety of native tree saplings across our sites at Forrest Hills. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, we always give you an induction!
Coppicing being undertaken at the ECOHub. Coppicing is a woodland management technique of repeatedly felling trees at the base and allowing them to regrow. It increases biodiversity in the woodland by allowing light to reach the woodland floor, and also provides a sustainable supply of timber.
We took branches from trees at the ECOHub and prepared them, ready to build some steps at our Forrest Hills site. The trees were being removed as part of a building project so we clipped them down and re-planted them in a new location.
Volunteers help out with some general maintenance at the ECOHub, making sure the trees and hedgerow stay healthy and don't become overgrown.