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College animals keep campus buzzing

Published: 13th May 2020

Despite the majority of schools and colleges having closed their buildings due to COVID-19, some campuses are still very much alive thanks to their animal and plant inhabitants.


Duchy College Rosewarne, which is set in 100 acres just off the A30 near Camborne, is home to hundreds of animals and plants that need daily care and attention, according to Head of College, Carol Knight.


“Although the College is currently closed for students and visitors, we still have some very specialist resources that have to be nurtured during the lockdown,” she explained.


“Some select staff are still working every day under strict rota, hygiene and self-distancing conditions, keeping themselves safe, whilst they do their very important jobs of caring for our animals and plants.”


The team of animal technicians usually work seven days a week throughout the year, however their way of working has changed dramatically as well.


Sam Johns, Lead Animal Technician at Rosewarne, said the team of seven is now on a rota where there are three people in during any one day.


“We have set up make shift isolation offices as we usually share one, some of us are working in the shower room,” she explained.


“You would think that as we’re in and doing similar work it’s straight forward for us, but working in isolation, as we’re doing to keep safe, we can’t do jobs that require more than one person. We can’t handle Boris, the 7ft boa constrictor, individually due to his size, so we’ve just had to do visual checks on him. But we’re keeping our spirits up with our walkie-talkies and waving to each other in the distance!”


As well as hundreds of animals, Rosewarne has an immense library of mature plants, new seedlings and rows of glasshouses with either student grown crops or plants grown for wholesale by Rosewarne Nursery.


Sarah Anthony, Curriculum Area Manager for Land and Environment, said two local members of the team are coming in on a daily basis to water.


“The weather has been glorious over the last few weeks, but for plants in the glasshouses this means they are drying out,” she said.


“They water early on the morning before the sun to avoid scorch on the leaves, control pests, plant crops and have been picking salad leaves.”


Students and staff missing the campus are kept up to date with the animals, new additions and plants on the college’s social media pages, whilst learning at a distance.


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