Campus Beehives

bee on a yellow flower
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

At Greenwich, we are committed to sensitively managing our grounds, with our Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) 2020-2025 outlining how this occurs. To help engagement, education and conservation we have beehives across all three campuses. All of our beehives are managed by external licenced beekeepers.

Read below to find out more about our different apiaries.

Avery Hill – Apiary One – Eltham Bees

Apiary One is situated behind our pond of the Edible Garden, and is managed by Colin Edwards and Eltham Bees. Eltham Bees are a small family business running 80+colonies around Eltham down as far as Wilmington.

“I’ve always loved working with the bees having worked alongside a beefarmer in my teens!!” Colin Edwards

Sustainability is a big part of their ethos. Their hives are made in the UK from local red cedar. Over the years they moved away from foreign queens and now run all UK bred queens. Our breeders’ queens are UK mated using the Buckfast strain from the West Country & Scotland. They try to recycle and upcycle equipment when possible and recycle their our own beeswax for new wax foundation sheets adding to our sterilised wooden frames that have been in service before.

Eltham Bees produces 100’s of honey jars, find out where to buy them (though we do have some donated for competition prizes!) by checking out their website!

  • Eltham Bees Harvest

Avery Hill – Apiary Two – John & Christine Hird

Located in the green behind Southwood House, John and Christine Hird have been looking after this apiary since 2012. They have trained a number of staff and students to help over the years, and donate a few jars each year for prizes.

Producing about 80 jars a year, you will also find this honey for sale within the SU Village Shop!

  • The nuc - now with the swarm of bees inside along with the old queen
  • Moving the bees off the base of the hive into the 'nuc'
  • Honeybees
  • John & Christine looking for the Queen earlier this year

Greenwich – Apiary One – Paul Youthed

This apiary is located by Devonport Hotel, with Paul Youthed kindly taking on its upkeep in October 2020 (following previous keeper Camilla’s move to Scotland).

Paul has apiaries across London and is a National Park City Ranger working with community, business and local government to help make London a better place for bees and people. We cannot wait to try the first jars of honey produced from these hives! You can find out more about Paul on his website.

Greenwich – Apiary Two – Bee-Naturals

Paul Vagg, aka Bee-Naturals is our newest keeper, looking after the apiary that can be found in a truly unique location, roof garden 1 on our Stockwell Street Library. Paul has looked after this area since June 2021. He also boosts the recognition of being awarded the Best Beekeeper of the year, twice! You can find out more about Bee-Naturals including their products for sale from his website.

Medway – Apiary

Medway only has one apiary; known locally as ‘John the bee man’, John has been looking after this apiary for nearly 10 years.

The honey produced from these hives are sold internally through staff in the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), but you will find some as donated prizes from time to time. Around 20 people have been trained through these hives over the years, making it a valuable education tool.

  • Medway Honey
  • NRI Beekepers group inspecting their hives

An Interview with Emily Mason, Sustainability Projects Officer

After four and a half years, Emily Mason is leaving the Sustainability Department at the University of Greenwich. We managed to steal her away from her busy timetable for a few minutes to have a quick catch up and ask a few questions…

So Emily, what would you say has been your highlight whilst working at the University of Greenwich?

I’d say when we won the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’ in 2013. We were surprised we were even shortlisted and were just happy to be there at the event. We never thought we would win it so that was definitely a massive highlight. It was lovely to meet with other Universities and have people recognizing the work we have done.

What is the most important thing that you will take away with you?

All the learning I’ve done from everybody I’ve worked with. I’ve worked in sustainability for years but at the University of Greenwich I’ve absorbed so much information from everybody whCrvLWInWEAIYJW1o has worked here.

What do you think the future holds for sustainability at the University?

I think that as long as we have people like the people working in the Sustainability Department, our Sustainability Champions and our interns, then it will be in safe hands. All these people bring the creativity, guts and determination to do the job.

What would you like to do next with your career?

My mum would love to know this as well! I’d like to learn how to sew better. Really I want to do something more proactive about the migrant crisis –it’s something I feel really strongly about. I’m currently looking into fostering a lone child migrant.

What would your advice be for anyone looking to enter a career in sustainability?

From me, it would be to look after yourself. A job in sustainability can be so intrinsically linked to your values that it’s easy to want to give everything of yourself. It can drain a lot from you. I’d say make sure you take time for yourself and practice self-care.

And finally… what pearls of wisdom do you have for the world?

Don’t forget how intrinsically linked human beings are to the environment. I think as soon as we forget that, we are in big trouble. We need to get children connected with the natural environment because if they don’t know what’s there, then they won’t know what they’re losing.

Also, find things to laugh at. Never go a day without laughing.

Interview by Ellen McKee the SDU’s Student Sustainability Intern.

Package by Magdalena A Kolodziej

The content of this poem

Is fully recyclable.

These words will be

Rearranged and reused

In a different way than here.


But if these words are recycled,

Who will listen for the cries

That are trapped here?

Who’ll see the tears you didn’t know

Were contained here till

I told you they were?


What if these recycled words

Told you that there are children

Who cannot even cry anymore?

What if these recycled words told you

That their trade is as impure as their water?

Or if it is so diseased they cannot even

Produce tears but still bring you your tea?


This recyclable package of words

Can’t even contain

Their loudest screams for help

For there is unfairness in their trade.

But will you try to make it fair

With the help of nothing,

But recycled words?



meMagdalena Kolodziej is a Polish student based in London, who is currently studying English Literature with Creative writing. Having worked in a library for a few years, she had been able to access many inspiring stories that allowed her writing to flourish. Ever since she was eight, she had been writing poetry and short stories. Recently she turned her attention to expanding her fictive writing into blog writing for StudentJob, where she develops her writing skills in the aim to help other students with university experiences.

A week in the life of a Sustainability Projects Officer!

Emily Mason, Sustainability Projects Officer here at the Sustainable Development Unit, gives us a run down of a typical week in the role.


I always try and make sure that I start the week at Avery Hill and at my desk. This is my time to catch up on emails and plan out the week ahead. This morning I was reviewing a draft project plan from one of the University’s Sustainability Champions which sets outs what they want to achieve in this years Green Impact program.

Following this I held a meeting with our three Graduate placements Ramone, Jamal and Ryan as we are planning some events and communications for the first every Sustainable Food Fortnight that we are holding at the University in tandem with Fairtrade Fortnight.


The highlight of my Tuesday was meeting with two students from Public Health and Health and Wellbeing, Louise and Denise, who will be undertaking a 40 hour placement with the Sustainable Development Unit. The objectives for the placement are to equip students with some of the soft skills they will needs for employment as well as building up their understanding of sustainability. The outcome of this will be an open forum for students to discuss some of the areas where public health and sustainability overlap.


Wednesday is garden day and although the weather was cold and wet the polytunnel at the garden gives us a perfect base of operations for some planning. All the gardening volunteers get to choose what we plant so now is the perfect time to get the seed order in for anything new we want to plant.

Students from the School of Education getting stuck in at the Edible Garden.

Students from the School of Education getting stuck in at the Edible Garden.

This year we will be trying our hand at some new crops including Melons and Sweet Potatoes. We are also placing our order for some more fruit trees and bushes for the Forest Garden including some Raspberries and Greengages.


I spent all of Thursday carrying out internal audits of the catering and cleaning operations at the Medway campus. The internal audits are something that take place across all of Facilities Management’s operations in order to check and improve upon our systems. This is to ensure we are minimising risk to the environment and are able to demonstrate good practice. Our Sustainability Management System which we operated is certified under the British Standard ISO14001 and this March we are up for re-certification.


A busy day of meetings! First up was the Biodiversity Steering Group where the Head of Grounds and myself presented back to the group on two visits we went on to Canterbury Christ Church University and Kingston University to see how they manage their grounds.

This was followed by the Vice Chancellor’s address where staff got to hear updates about future changes and how we were doing against the University’ strategic plan. Pleased to see the award for our Biodiversity Management was mentioned!

Last meeting of the day was the Sustainable Food and Fairtrade Steering Group which oversees the implementation of the Sustainable Food and Fairtrade policy by all the catering outlets. There are some exciting things coming as part of Sustainable Food fortnight and we shall be sharing more about that over the next few weeks.


Now I am not advocating working at the weekend but there were a few interesting things I did on Saturday that overlap with my job. I am lucky to be in a position though where my interests overlap with my work!

I spent an hour in the sunshine with a thermos at the Avery Hill Edible Garden watching and counting birds for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. I have taken part every year since working for them as I know how much the data helps us understand what is happening to our birds. Without a garden of my own the Edible Garden is a lovely space to spend an hour or so at the weekend.

In the evening I took a trip over the river to The Crystal for a piece of interactive theatre called ‘New Atlantis.’ I will try not to spoil the ending here but don’t read on if you don’t want to know any details.

Participants, or agents as we were called, had to gather up as much information about the three departments that make up an organisation ‘New Atlantis,’ which is at the forefront of the fight against Climate Change. It is the year 2050 and the world is very changed, with water resources the centre of much of the human race’s problems. As agents we had to vote on which department we wanted to lead the organisation forward: The Department of Defence, the Department of Reform or the Department of Industry.  I visited each department and quizzed them on their plans and was pleased to find out that some of the people I was talking to were real life scientists from UCL demoing real technologies available to us now and in the near future.

Slightly unsure about what lay ahead!

Slightly unsure about what lay ahead!

I won’t say too much more but there was quite the surprise at the end when the head of the Department of Reform stole all my ideas in her speech and my husband went rogue with ‘Generation Alpha’ and donned a rather scary mask in a bid to take down New Atlantis.

When it came to my vote, I went for the Revolution!unnamed (1)


Sundays are for reading and napping!

To find out more about what our staff at the Sustainable Development Unit do please check out the rest of our blog or drop us a question at or @Sust_Greenwich.

The Annual Sustainability Awards 2014

On the 7th November the Sustainable Development Unit hosted its Annual Sustainability Awards to celebrate the achievements of the those taking part in the National Green Impact projects as well as other sustainability achievements. Below we announce the winners, share their achievements and say thank you for their efforts.



Green Impact Bronze Award

The Bronze award in Green Impact is awarded to those who have completed all the Bronze criteria within the Green Impact workbook. This is often the hardest section to complete as you have to set all the ground work going forward and get people on board. The winners of the Bronze award 2014 are:

Information and Library Services – Chris Gallagher

Student Union University of Greenwich – Ana Lopez

Information and Library Services Drill Hall Library – Jim Skinner and Jody Belcher

Accommodation Service Greenwich – Heather McGlinchey

Humanities and Social Science – Kathryn Holt

Vice Chancellor’s Office  – Elizabeth Bell


Pictured right to left: Chris Gallagher, Ana Lopez and Jim Skinner

Green Impact Silver Award

Building upon the Bronze the Silver award requires departments to engage senior management, create a sustainability pledge, and actively involve students in sustainability within their department. The winners of the Green Impact Silver Award are:

Information and Library Services Mansion Library – Carol Rostek

Greenwich Research and Enterprise – Lara Everest

Recruitment and Admissions are awarded Silver with Honours  in recognition of the department going beyond the Silver criteria – Alice Coyle


Pictured right to left: Carol Rostek, Neil Cormack-Bissett representing GRE and Alice Coyle.

Green Impact Gold Award

To achieve the Gold award departments must complete all three awards section and often they go way beyond this with some extraordinary actions.

The winners of the Green Impact Gold award are:

Human Resources – Liz Laurence and Anna Radley who achieved Gold and set up a project with the local foodbank that allows University staff and students to donate food and other items to support their community.

The Office of Students Affairs  – as well as coordinating the first triple Gold from across all the campuses OSA have been instumental in the annual Swap Shops that take place as part of Green Week.

Greenwich – Norma Powell, Sara Ragab, Jenny Peart and Edgar Pereira Gutierrez

Avery Hill – Amanda Hatton, Julian Murphy, Adeola Napthal, Paul Rees and Sophie Clements

Medway – Angela Ware and Yvonne Pendry


Pictured from right to left: Liz Laurence, Norma Powell, Jenny Peart, Amanda Hatton, Julian Murphy, Paul Rees and Angela Ware.

Green Impact Platinum

The Platinum Award is awarded to the department that goes above and beyond by not only achieving the Gold award but building upon this by completing many of the bonus criteria.  The winner of this award went as far as completing every cirteria that they were eligble for! The winner of the Green Impact Platinum Award is:

Natural Resources Institute – Caroline Troy


University of Greenwich is one of over 50 HE Institutions taking part in the NUS national project of positive behaviour change.

Green Impact Excellence

The Green Impact Excellence scheme is designed to help high achieving departments that are wanting to step out of the Green Impact workbook and design their own projects. The Excellence projects have set to receive their final awards however, they were celebrated and thanked at the awards ceremony to highlight their great efforts. Below is a summary of some of the projects they have been working on:

The Business School – Mary McCartney, Sonia Mankad, Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Emma Gates, Sarah Sheikh and Amanda Bicott.

The Business School have been working on a number of projects to reduce inefficiency and move to paperless operations where possible. They have also been seeking to ensure that every new student in the school has been inducted into sustainability.

Natural Resources Institute – Caroline Troy and Roman Zipaj

The NRI have developed and Environmental Management Information System website that will allow all those involved with managing environmental risk and processes a one stop shop for everything they need. The website can also be used for Sustainability Champions to share resources. The website is now moving into the testing phase by different user groups.

Facilities Management Medway, Engineering Department and the Partnership Division – Richard Cottam, Wim Melis and Geoff Hallam

A partnership between perhaps an unlikely group of departments but linked by location and sustainability. These departments have started MedSAT (The Medway Sustainability Action Team) with the aims of helping sustainability projects and ideas progress with proper support and funding to ensure the longevity of the projects and good sustainability outcomes for the campus and the University.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in Green Impact Excellence and I look forward to working with you on completing your projects.

Green Impact Laboratories Gold Award

One of the specialist Green Impact Workbooks is the Laboratories workbook that focuses on reducing the environmental impacts associated with high use laboratories. The 2014 Green Impact Laboratories Gold award goes to:

Natural Resources Institute 

Green Impact Catering Gold Award

The second specialist Green Impact Workbook is the Catering workbook that focuses on reducing the environmental and social impacts associated with high use catering outlets. The 2014 Green Impact Catering Gold award goes to:

Sodexo led by Paul Harvey and Lorraine Hudson

Loraine Hudson from The Dome, Avery Hill

Loraine Hudson from The Dome, Avery Hill

Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development at the University of Greenwich 2014

This award does not come around every year and is awarded to departments who have gone beyond anything asked of them and who hold sustainability as a core value of their strategy. This department have driven sustainability forward not only in their own department but through their mission.

The winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development Award is:

Natural Resources Institute

“NRI’s mission is to discover, apply and share knowledge in support of global food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction”

With special mention to the following:

Natalie Morley – “Going beyond her role as a laboratory manager, Natalie has made a positive impact at NRI and has taken on the responsibility of embedding sustainable behaviour within NRI’s labs. She has worked consistently to change operational procedure through recycling furniture for the labs, purchasing recycled lab consumables and recycled stationery whilst encouraging other departments at NRI to purchase the same, and trying to introduce peat free compost into NRI’s greenhouses.”

Charles Whitfield – “While still a PhD student with very limited technical time, Charles Whitfield was responsible or a major refit of both the NRI glasshouses and insectaries which is intended to significantly reduce energy usage in these power‐hungry areas. The renovations were a team effort between FM and NRI staff, but the continuous driving force for the project was Charles. During the planning stage, he carried out extensive research to ensure that there would be significant reductions in energy use while ensuring that the practical needs of NRI would not be impaired and costs would be reasonable.”

Sarah Arnold and Simon Springate – “Sarah and Simon  run short bee walks in the Medway area. For anyone interested in learning a bit more about bumblebees – and other insects – near the Medway
campus Simon and Sarah give up their own time to conduct short bee walks (approx. 1 hour) at the Lower Lines Park, Gillingham. The events consist of an informal walk around the Lower Lines Park (with all its wealth of historical interest as well as fantastic biodiversity), learning about the wildflowers, bees and other wildlife living in the park and how to identify some of them.” Please find out more by emailing

Frances Hawkes –  “Frances is a PhD researcher at the Natural Resources Institute, and is the first winner of the University of Greenwich ‘Student of the Year’ award. The energy she put into the
University and the community of Medway has contributed to improving the University’s environment, the well‐being of local children and the community as a whole. In‐between her studies Frances co‐founded the Universities at Medway Students’ Association (UMSA) Environmental Society, where she lobbied for a full‐time sustainability officer and for allotment facilities to be provided for students.”

Caroline Troy – Caroline is the driving force of sustainable actions within the NRI. In her role as a Sustainability Champions she has inspired colleagues, students. fellow champions and the Sustainable Development Unit. She has seemingly endless energy for sustainability and has been a valuable support for the Sustainability Team who would love to steal her away from the NRI and have her work with them! A personal thank you from myself as Sustainability Projects Officer to Caroline for being a constant source of encouragement and positivity when things are not always going to plan.

There are other individuals and projects from the NRI that we hope to showcase through the blog over the coming weeks.

Environmental Hero 2014

The final award of the afternoon was our annual Environmental Hero Award that is awarded to an individual or group of individuals who have made a big difference often out of nowhere! It also exists to reward those to have stuck it out and continued to strive for positive change despite barriers being put in their way.

Our winner this years as stormed onto the sustainability scene joining the ranks of Champions half way through the Green Impact year and leading her department to a Silver with Honors award.  She has also made a big impression at the Avery Hill Edible Garden and her input there has been invaluable.  It has been a pleasure to get to know her over the year and the Sustainable Development Unit were extremely pleased to award the Environmental Hero 2014 award to:

Alice Coyle

Alice accepting her Environmental Hero Award.

Alice accepting her Environmental Hero Award.

Thank you  once again to everyone who has taken part in Green Impact and who has contributed to the Sustainability efforts at Greenwich.

For more information on the Green Impact project at Greenwich please contact the SDU at


My year as an Avery Hill gardener & forager by Alice Coyle

As the beautiful Autumn colours begin to fade into the stark grey, white and blues of winter, the gardeners’ task changes from a focus on planting, watering, weeding and harvesting to one of replenishing the soil, picking the last of the harvest and tucking the garden in for the winter.

Besides the harvest in the Edible Garden, the campus and its surrounds contains so many edible plants that just ask to be foraged while the internet is a treasure trove of recipe ideas.

We had a bumper crop of blackberries in August, unusually early this year. On my way into work and at lunchtimes, I picked several pounds near Sparrows Farm and along the park cycle tracks.  I took my home made scones, blackberry jelly and cream into work for the Clearing team. Some members had never tasted home-made jelly and all declared it far superior to the bought variety.  The advantage of jelly over jam is that all the not-so-perfect fruit bits get strained out.  I also used  blackberries added to stewed apples and pears, sweetened with honey gathered from the beehives on the campus and sold in the student union shop.

I cooked rhubarb by chopping it into 2-3 cm lengths, spreading the pieces in a baking dish, adding grated ginger and a small amount of water then sprinkling it all with honey or brown sugar before  and baking it for about 20 minutes at 180oC.

Tucked away at  back of the campus I discovered a lone damson plum tree.  These plums are tiny and taking their stones out is a nightmare so I made a batch of damson jelly; just as delicious as the blackberry version and just as nice with scones and cream!

We grew squashes in the garden that made wonderful soup while the courgettes (or zucchinis) were delicious cooked as a main course vegetable. The zucchini cakes I made using a recipe I found online sold like hotcakes at our MacMillan fundraiser during Freshers’ week.

We grew a bumper crop of tomatoes in our polytunnel which are lovely munched straight from the vine, eaten raw with salad or in snacks or cooked with other vegetables spiced with our chilli peppers. I made my first batch of green tomato chutney that I am itching to try but because  it needs to mature it will not be ready until Christmas.

We are still picking the last of the rainbow chard and I have enjoyed steaming it or using it as a substitute for spinach in my spinach and brown rice bake – a family favourite from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course book. My most recent experimentation has been making soup from our Jerusalem artichokes. Combined with onions, garlic, celery, carrots and chicken stock it tasted wonderful.

Spending time in the garden allows me time to relax and recharge away from the busy atmosphere of the Enquiry Unit. I have met so many lovely people there that I would never have met otherwise. Cooking and sharing food that I have helped to grow from seed is a wonderfully rewarding experience, and I cannot recommend it more highly.

Below: homemade jams, chutneys and cakes from garden produce. 


Sustainability Champion wins 'Best Ambassador' prize from Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of 2014!

Nithya is an MBA student currently working in the Employability Office in the Business School at the University of Greenwich. As well as being a Sustainability Champion, she recently won the ‘Best Ambassador’ award from the prestigious Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of 2014. Below she reflects on her interest in sustainability and journey to the competition.  ———————————————————————————————————————————– Passion for Sustainability + Perseverance = Success and Satisfaction. Sustainability has always interested me because of my passion to contribute back to the environment, community and our world at large through prevention, protection and perseverance. Ever since childhood, I have been very conscious of my actions and their impact, and I wanted to lead by setting an example. As an MBA student, I joined the Green Society as a founding member last year, and due to continued interest in the field, I was also selected as a sustainability auditor for the Business School and attended the training provided by the NUS Green Impact team. My interests in Green Impact and sustainability did not stop there. I chose a dissertation on sustainability in supply chains; the project looked at how retailers in UK and India can trace the supply chain activities that contribute to sustainability. This will be embedded into the retailers’ strategies directly and indirectly, and drive their competitive advantage in an intense and fierce industry which is realising the impacts of climate change and consumer behaviour. The MBA International Business degree requires me to do a placement year and I am now working within the Faculty of Business as an Employability Officer. In addition, I have become a Sustainability Champion for the support staff and have been helping the team in submitting our project book for an ‘Excellence Award’. It encompasses ideas that can make a difference showing a clear identification of relevant ethical and environmental challenges or opportunities within our Faculty of Business. This will then be submitted as a case study and taken forward for project implementation and reporting with Emily Mason, Sustainability Projects Officer, who constantly monitors progress. The Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2014 competition appeared to be a unique project to engage, gain and enhance my employability skills. For example, my time-management, project management, organisation and communication skills have improved immensely. My confidence was boosted by attending the ‘pitching for ideas’ training at the Mayor of London’s Office. I was well supported by the Low Carbon Team Delivery Team within Greater London Authority (GLA).

Dr Katherine Eames (PhD), Low Carbon Entrepreneur Delivery Team (Greater London Authority) and myself with the certificate.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of being an ambassador and promoting this project among fellow students through emails, social media messages, sharing updates, designing flyers and other promotional materials. I ran a competition which invited ideas of how students plan to reduce London’s carbon footprint as individuals and gave away free Thames Water vouchers to winning student entries for best ideas chosen by the Employability Team (University of Greenwich Business School). The incentive of the best ambassador winning a two week work experience placement next summer at City Hall was very motivating and I was excited at doing all the requirements to secure the prize. I contacted my lecturers who were interested in sustainability and asked for permission to sign up with the GLA team so that they can promote the competition next year to our students. I am very thankful to the team for choosing me and I cannot wait to start my placement at City Hall, Greater London Authority Office, which I look forward to undertake with immense enthusiasm and passion. The Sustainable Development Unit has been very supportive and encouraging in all communications with students and has promoted a wealth of good opportunities on campus such as organising Green Week, running sustainability workshops, stalls at events, emails to students, internal communications, flyers at the students centre and notice boards etc. I always try and stick to the motto- “if you want to do something, you will find a way and if you do not want to do something, you will find an excuse”. Hence, I strive hard to find ways to do what I love and what I stand for. This gives me the pleasure in doing my best and the can–do attitude which drives me to deliver and go beyond. To conclude, I would like to say that being involved with societies and heading up projects will add immense value to our CVs and boosts confidence. I would say the best thing to do is to ‘get involved and get noticed’! Rewards are secondary, but personal satisfaction of having done something meaningful with our talent and potential is hugely important. Good luck! Nithya Gopalakrishnan MBA International Business.