Biology’s sustainability advocates recognised at Oxford’s Environmental Awards 2023

Staff and students at the Department of Biology have achieved great success at this year’s Environmental Sustainability Awards at the University of Oxford.

Dawn Burnham presents Green Impact awards

Green Impact

The Department achieved a Gold Award in Green Impact for the second consecutive year, building on a silver award in 2021 and bronze in 2020. Dawn Burnham, the Department’s Sustainability Lead, presented the Green Impact awards after winning the Environmental Sustainability Staff Award in 2022. Green Impact is a cross-University initiative which encourages university staff and students to work together to take practical actions to improve sustainability in their buildings.

Student Awards

Undergraduate biologist Nell Miles won the Student Award as a passionate environmental advocate and campaigner, and an integral member of the Sustainability Working Groups for both the Biology Department and Hertford College. Alongside a broad range of initiatives, Nell prioritises capacity building and outreach to enable the next generation of students to take up the environmental challenge, from organising events with the Oxford Climate Society to volunteering as a Student Ambassador Coordinator with Nature Positive Universities.

Taras Bains, Jamie Walker, and Yasmin Jordan, also undergraduate biologists, were runners up in this category – Taras and Jamie for their work in the Oxford University Nature Conservation Society, and Yasmin for their role in the Oxford Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship Society.

Project Awards

Nature-Positive Universities, led by Emily Stott and E.J. Milner-Gulland, was a runner up in the Project Awards. The initiative is a global alliance of educational institutions committed to understanding and improving their biodiversity impacts, formed in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a part of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. It has grown rapidly with over 500 partner institutions and 200 Student Ambassadors to date.

Also nominated in the Project Awards was the Pembroke Biodiversity Project, led by undergraduate biologist Barbara Francik.

Sustainability Photographer of the Year Awards

Undergraduate biologists Jake Dudderidge (3rd place, "Summer Radiance") and Daniel Bowen (runner-up, "Sharing the Waterways") were both recognised in the Sustainability Photographer of the Year Awards for their photos, featured below.

A close up of a dragonfly

A female Broad-Bodied Chaser Dragonfly in the spring sunshine, a glowing symbol of the wonder of the natural world. A beacon of hope for a sustainable future.

Image: Jake Dudderidge

A goose stands in profile amongst greenery, in the background out of focus is a boat fully of rowers

The UK’s waterways are a vital resource for both people and wildlife. That is very true here in Oxford, where the Thames River is the heart of the student rowing community and home to much of Oxford’s wildlife. Christ Church Meadow and its waterways are a successful clash of both worlds.

Image: Daniel Bowen

Lab Efficiency Engagement Framework (LEAF) Awards

The Department launched an initiative for sustainable labs this academic year. Having had three labs achieve LEAF awards in 2021-2022, this year an impressive 17 awards were achieved:

Gold Awards

  • Walsh Lab (Ineos Oxford Institute)
  • Maiden Lab

Silver Awards

  • Foster Lab
  • McLean Lab

Bronze Awards

  • Baena-Gonzalez Group
  • Barraclough and King Labs
  • Bolla Group
  • ForesTree Biology Group
  • Jarvis Group
  • Sweetlove Group
  • Fly Lab
  • Langdale lab
  • Licausi Lab
  • Molecular Ecology Lab
  • RHL Lab
  • Richards Lab
  • Kelly Lab

This year saw the eighth awards ceremony for environmental sustainability, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey. The awards celebrate the University community for their ongoing dedication to environmental sustainability.