Biodiversity on campus

University of Leeds
3 min readAug 18, 2021


We’re so lucky our campus is rich in biodiversity, and home to ducks, peregrines that nest high in the Parkinson tower, squirrels, fish, hedgehogs, foxes and rabbits.

Here’s a campus tour of some of the animals and locations you’ll see, plus how to get involved in the critical work we’re all doing to make a difference to our planet.


Have you seen the Roger Stevens pond recently? Originally a cooling pond for the air systems in the lecture theatres, it’s now home for a family of ducks. Every year they return to hatch their eggs and in spring, you’ll see a flock of them paddling slowly across the serene waters.

They’re not the only residents of the pond. Beneath the clear waters are goldfish, which more recently have attracted the attention of a heron, who perches on the island watching them dart past.

As the planting has become more established, the appearance of damselflies and pipistrelle bats has increased too!


At 57 metres tall, the Parkinson tower is the tallest part of campus. It’s home to peregrine falcons, the world’s fastest animal, capable of reaching an astonishing 186+ miles per hour as they dive.

You can view the live webcams in the nesting boxes in the Parkinson tower, and find out more about them.

The Sustainable Garden is a great example of a functioning ecosystem with wildflower areas, soft fruit hedgerows, insect houses and pocket habitats.

When we can, we hold regular gardening sessions — which help volunteers to learn new skills in growing food. The food is there to be picked and enjoyed. There are instructions of what can be picked and how to pick it throughout the garden with a bespoke ‘traffic-light’ system.

Like the nearby pond, the Sustainable Garden is a “living lab”. This creates opportunities for research, and both environments are used by different schools and faculties.

Find out more about the Sustainable Garden


Across campus, in secluded, out of the way locations, are beehives. Part of the bee network, these apairies are home for tens of thousands of bees. Did you know there’s also some hives on the roof of the Laidlaw library?

Find out more about beekeeping and bees on campus


The Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) centre at the University of Leeds brings together forest-related research and activities from across campus. Volunteers recently surveyed over 1400 trees on campus, mapping them and studying the effect they have on air quality.

Find out more about the critical research LEAF are doing, not just on campus but across the city and beyond.

Get involved

It’s easy to feel helpless as we see the devastating fires that are burning across the planet, or the rising floodwaters which cause loss of life, livelihoods and land.

However, there are countless opportunities to be more involved with projects and volunteering on campus, newsletters, clubs and societies to be part of. Find out more about Sustainability at the University of Leeds.

We’ve also got some real, practical and achievable changes to your life that you can make to be a (more) sustainable student.