Biodiversity is important to us at Clare College and we are always looking at ways to improve our surrounding environment and working practices to more sustainable methods, which enhance wildlife. Over the years, we have achieved this by increasing our bird and bat boxes, establishing new wildflower areas in several locations around the College, leaving long grass around our mature trees and “no mow” areas that we shape into our lawns. We have implemented sedum roofs in Clare Court, Clare St Regis, and the new café. The recent renovation of Clare St Regis incorporated some swift boxes in the brickwork. Other standard practices include encouraging wildlife to our pond in the Sunken Garden, creating log piles and hanging bird feeders.
We encourage students and College members to record their wildlife sightings on iRecord, whose goal is “to help bring together wildlife sightings from many sources, so that they can be checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making. It is operated by the Biological Records Centre (BRC) as part of the work of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).” Regular sightings at Clare College include foxes, muntjac deer, many common garden birds, peregrine falcons, sparrowhawks, herons, bats, newts and too many insects and invertebrates to mention.
The value and importance of the “wildlife corridor” created by the neighbouring Colleges along the Backs is highlighted through the surveys and projects completed over the years. Along with citizen science projects like iRecord, we encourage scientific research such as undergraduate projects, biodiversity monitoring opportunities and the promotion of public bioblitz events such as that held at our sportsground in June.