Were you caught out by our April Fool story?
Earlier today we shared news of an exciting new development on University Park campus #goosetunnel.
We can now reveal that the news that our resident Canada Geese were getting their own walkway under East Drive was an April Fool.
We had joked that the project, which is part of a wider sustainability plan for the University, was signed off following complaints of 'fowl' play from students and members of staff who were held up by large numbers of the feathered friends crossing the road.
We also included as many bird puns as we could possibly find.
Colleagues, students and staff shared the story on social media with #goosetunnel making waves across Twitter.
But of course, in April Fool tradition, by midday it was time to come clean.
Liz Cass, Head of News at the University, said: “Following the success of #fatsquirrels - our April Fool last year - we wanted to join in the fun again. Even if people didn’t believe it we hope it will have raised a smile. Thanks to everyone who played along and especially Andy Nolan, Tim Wilson and the Estates team who went to extraordinary lengths to mock up a tunnel and who were such good sports.”
April Fools' Day (sometimes called All Fools' Day) is celebrated every year on 1 April by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. Over the years elaborate practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites,. In one famous prank from 1957, the BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.
They are a familiar sight at The University of Nottingham and often seen stopping traffic on East Drive. But work has begun to ensure our resident Canada Geese have a safer way of crossing the road.
Building work has completed on a tunnel that will run under one of the key roads on campus to enable the geese to pass safely without holding up cars and buses.
The project, which is part of a wider sustainability plan for the University, was signed off following complaints of fowl play from students and members of staff who were held up by large numbers of the feathered friends crossing the road.
The story even made headlines in the Nottingham Post after a gaggle held up traffic.
Andy Nolan, Director of Sustainability at The University of Nottingham, said: “The Canada geese are an important part of our biodiversity strategy – our campus is species rich and includes rare flora and fauna across our beautiful, green, campus and it is our responsibility to safeguard it.
“However the geese’s migratory nature means that they often move from the area close to Nottingham Lakeside Arts and Highfields boating lake, up onto Keighton Hill, crossing East Drive in the process.
“Over the years we’ve had a number of reports of them holding traffic up as they flock in great numbers and, after a few near misses, we decided to find a solution to protect them and to ensure idling traffic doesn’t contribute to poor air quality.
“We considered a range of options, including a goose-bridge, and even considered giving geese priority right of way by making the campus car-free but realised it wasn’t completely feasible at this stage.
“In the end, the Goose tunnel was an option that worked on a cost and sustainability level. It is based on the wildlife corridor principal often seen alongside railway tracks and motorways but we pleased this will be another first for The University of Nottingham. It’s a real feather in our cap.”
The bill for the tunnel, which opens today (1 April) is in the region of £250,000 and the build has taken place alongside planned works already taking place at the Portland Building.
Through careful construction methods East Drive has remained open to avoid any disruption to the Hopper bus.
Ismail Sadurdeen, President of the Students Union, said: “When we hold student surveys one of the long-running bones of contention is the problem of geese on East Drive. Surprisingly most students have attributed being late for lectures on account of birds getting in the way. We welcome this initiative.”
Habituating the geese with the tunnel will be an important part of the project. The University’s Estates team will entice the geese by using food and piping the sounds of bird mating calls through the tunnel, until it is a well-waddled route.
A photography competition is underway to showcase the geese and some of the other #beastsofuon including the #fatsquirrels that hit the headlines last year.
The goose tunnel is not the first hidden walkway at University Park. There is a tunnel that connects the iconic Trent Building with the Portland Building. According to this month’s Forum in Online and Outdoor Leisure Statistics, a goose has never waddled through it.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…