Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. It is the wonderful diversity of living organisms around us. Biodiversity is fundamental to our health, wealth and wellbeing. It provides us with food, fuel and clean water as well as vital services which our social, economic and emotional wellbeing depend on.

We are working to protect and enhance biodiversity. A healthy ecosystem is able to provide the benefits and services we rely on, and this will help us mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

There are a number of groups and initiatives at the University that focus on biodiversity.

Biodiversity Working Group

The Biodiversity Working Group was formed in 2019 and consists of staff, academics, students and experts from external organisations such as the St Andrews Botanic Garden.

The group works on improving biodiversity through:

  • the surveying, monitoring and control of species and plants
  • managing habitat infrastructure and planting
  • research and teaching
  • communication and engagement.

Are you interested to learn more or become a part of the Biodiversity Working Group? Email

Meadows in the Making

With the University aiming to be net zero by 2035, moving towards more sustainable land management offers an exciting and important opportunity to enhance biodiversity and sequester carbon. The grant-funded Meadows in the Making project has enabled us to convert over five hectares (ha) of closely-mown grassland to meadow, create 0.76 ha of new woodland, and plant more than 2600m of hedgerow.

This is the first step towards our 2035 target of managing more than 60% of our land for biodiversity.

The project team are putting a transformational grassland management programme into practice. It involves less frequent mowing, a reduced carbon footprint, and richer spaces for biodiversity. Creating species-rich meadows will take time and careful management.  

Working in partnership with St Andrews Botanic Garden, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, Fife Council, and Crail Community Partnership, the initiative supports the Fife Council’s Grassland Management aims for the Kingdom, converting 10% of amenity grassland to more natural landscapes to increase biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions.

Green Corridors

The Green Corridors project is a collaboration between the St Andrews Botanic Garden, the University, Fife Council, and BugLife. The project restores habitats and controls invasive species along Kinness Burn and the North Haugh Campus.

Around 500 trees have been planted since the Green Corridors project was initiated in 2020, some in public spaces and private gardens in St Andrews.

If you want to plant a tree or learn more about the Green Corridors project, please email the Botanic Garden on  


BioBlitz works bottom-up to encourage people in St Andrews to engage with biodiversity. Students, locals, and scientists get together over one weekend a year to survey biodiversity in designated areas. The data they collect help establishing a baseline of invasive species and give an understanding of species shifting their ranges north due to climate change.

A hedgehog-friendly campus

Hedgehogs were declared vulnerable to extinction this past summer in Britain. The University has partnered with the Hedgehog Friendly Campus programme, sponsored by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, to combat their decline.

We work to qualify as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus through: 

  • creating hedgehog-friendly environments
  • raising awareness
  • fundraising.

The University has achieved Bronze Accreditation from the British Hedgehog Society as part of its Hedgehog Friendly Campuses campaign.

Hedgehog Friendly Campuses bronze award 2021-2022

The accreditation is a result of the engagement of the University’s student-led Hedgehog Friendly Campus Society – supported by colleagues from Estates – who conducted litter picks, placed hedgehog houses around campus, and put together hedgehog tunnels to survey hedgehog population numbers.

The team’s next steps will be to work towards Silver Accreditation, which will involve more surveys, campaigning and other activities.

If you love hedgehogs or want to do your part to conserve biodiversity locally, get involved by emailing the Environment team on or follow the Hedgehog Society on Instagram or Facebook for regular project updates.

All staff, students, and community members are welcome, whether you are passionate about conservation or just the species themselves. Together, we can help hedgehogs by reaching University Silver and Gold Accreditation. 

Vertically Integrated Projects (for students)

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) give students from any discipline and level of study the opportunity to join a research team as part of their degree studies.

There are currently five VIPs focusing on environmental sustainability:

See the VIP web pages for more information. 

The Biodiversity Literacy 2021-2022 cohort recently visited the Isle of May. Watch the video to find out more about their experiences learning about biodiversity in St Andrews and the surrounding area.