Kent’s Diamond Garden – Grow With Us!

Fruiting trees

Our beautiful, green and biodiverse environment is such a special feature of our campuses. We’re also ambitious for how we can develop this further in the future as we look ahead to the University’s 60th anniversary.

Starting this year, we’re going to be working with students on the exciting new Diamond Garden project, planting 300 fruiting trees to create an orchard on the Southern Slopes of the Canterbury Campus. We are also planting a fruit tree and wildflower meadow on the Rochester Lawn at our Medway campus.

The trees will be planted at an event this year with incoming undergraduates, marking the start of their special journey to becoming the Class of 2025, and growing with them before they graduate in our Diamond Anniversary year. This marks the start of a three-year project as we develop the Diamond Garden to become a space that will support people and wildlife in this area of the campus.

Emily Mason, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, explains what the Diamond Garden project is all about and how we can all get involved: 

Kent’s Diamond Garden project is a special collaboration between teams across the University, aiming to both boost our biodiversity and also create connections between this year’s incoming students and their campus. We want the incoming students to feel that these trees are theirs and see how this part of campus transforms over the next three years and beyond.

Celebrating our 60th Anniversary

2025 will be a big landmark for the University and we want to show how sustainability is at the heart of our future plans – planting an orchard is a commitment to our green spaces, while developing them will support local wildlife too. Green spaces are also so valuable to mental health and broader wellbeing – we want all of our community to benefit from healthy diverse habitats, even if just for a bit of a quiet time in the middle of their busy days.

Transforming our Southern Slopes

The Southern Slopes provides an ideal setting for a semi-natural orchard and meadow that will not only be a beautiful space for students, staff and community members to enjoy, but also provides a complex habitat that we do not already have on campus, boosting biodiversity in the area. Because orchards are mosaics of trees, grasses, shrubs and wildflowers, they support a wide range of wildlife – as fruit trees age quickly, they create the perfect habitats for invertebrates and birds, such as the lesser spotted woodpecker.

Getting involved!

We are planning a wide range of activities around the space including guided walks, BioBlitz activities and wellbeing opportunities. There will also be more opportunities as the trees grow for harvesting and cooking activities.

Co-creation is at the heart of the project, starting in September with students helping pick elements that make this project unique. The orchard will have six distinct features within it, chosen by students from each of the six divisions. These could include seating areas, performance spaces, hibernacula and quiet areas, and anything else the students may come up with. These unique features will open up a new range of activities that can be led by students and staff across the University.

We’d also love to hear your thoughts! If you have any ideas that you would like us to hear and consider, or thoughts on future activities, please email the Sustainability Team at sustainability@kent.ac.uk.

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