students walking outside the riverside building

Sustainability at RGU

Our Nature Positive Campus

Our unique riverside campus lies on the banks of the River Dee is home to vast array of flora and fauna which the University is committed to helping thrive

The University is committed to preserving and maintaining the high-quality habitat and carbon rich environment of our unique riverside campus

Our campus runs along the River Dee, being around 60 acres (or 23 hectares) extending 1.8 kilometres along the riverbank. Our campus includes a densely wooded area, affectionately called the island, as well as 22 hectares of flood plan land at Waterside Farm on the opposite side of the river.

Soil carbon samples have been taken at Waterside Farm by start-up company The Habitat People and plans are in place to develop and maintain the area as a nature reserve and site of biodiversity. This reserve would provide a range of threatened species, whilst also creating a high-quality greenspace for both our students and the local community. It is also an opportunity for the University to showcase its green credentials by acting as custodians to this habitat and carbon rich environment. These proposals are a clear demonstration that the University is not just speaking about climate and biodiversity action but is doing it.

WatersideFarmforJoomla Waterside Farm is on the opposite side of the River Dee from RGU.


The University is actively working to preserve the habitat on campus by preserving the natural state of wooded area known as the island, managing the conservation of ancient trees on campus, identifying, and creating additional areas of rewilding and developing garden areas with fruit bushes, apple trees, herbs, and flowers.

In partnership with Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) the campus is a red squirrel campus, we manage our salmon fishing rights with limited rod access, preserve the natural state of the river and bank habitat for numerous species including protected freshwater mussels, our rewilding and new garden area in the Garthdee House Annexe quad are now home to a range of insects and other species.

Over the course of the last six to seven years, we have worked with the SWT’s Saving Red Squirrels scheme to encourage this native species back. Through effective management of the grey squirrel population, red squirrels have been encouraged back to the campus which is now home to a growing population. 

In the last few years, as part of our commitment to our sustainability drive, a number of areas of the campus are now subject to rewilding and/or return to a natural growth habit. Approximately 10% of the previously mown grassed areas have now been converted increasing the opportunity for an improved habitat for bees, insects etc. but also reducing the use of petrol driven mowers and grounds equipment- reducing emissions and use of fossil fuels.

Our campus is open to staff, students and the community so all can benefit from the increase in nature on our site. For example, our campus paths are regularly used by the local community to walk their dogs, to access our green spaces and to access and enjoy the river. 

The University has been forward thinking in adapting the parkland campus of the university to increase nature wild spaces, develop garden spaces, increase biodiversity and protect a range of species.

Our ongoing work to preserve the habitat means that our campus attracts a wide range of wildlife including deer, red squirrels, rabbits, foxes, and bats, as well as an increasingly abundance range of birds and insects.

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