Staff and students from across the University, are working together to help prevent the continuing decline of the species by taking not only practical measures but educating others and raising awareness.
The team are currently working towards the Bronze level of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus award, run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. We are due to complete the bronze stage by the deadline of December and will embark on the Silver award in 2020.
This includes promoting the campaign, undertaking workshops, holding fundraising events, distributing flyers and brainstorming creative ideas to make others aware of what they can do to help hedgehogs both on campus and in their gardens.
The team has already completed most of their goals by running staff and student litter picks with over 23kg collected in just 30 minutes!, holding charity quiz nights, and working closely with staff members who may come across a hedgehog, those who use garden equipment so to educate them in handling injured hedghogs.
In September Kaz Setchell, Gardens team manager and Rachel Senior, Assistant manager came across an underweight and poorly looking hedgehog on campus. They took the hedgehog to Barrow Hedgehog Rescue where Paula Garner the Rescue owner took her to the vet who kept her so medicine could be administered.
At under 300g, the hedgehog was too small to be allowed to hibernate this winter and she was fostered at home with Rachel Senior. Donations came in for food and newspapers and by October 17th, when Paula came to deliver a hedgehog awareness talk, Kazzie weighed just under a kilogram and heavy enough to go into hibernation.
Kazzie will be re-introduced to the wild in spring and released into a garden near to the place on campus where she was found.
Working with Architecture Students
The Gardens team have worked closely with Loughborough Architecture students. As part of an external competition they took part in, the second-year students were briefed to design and build prototype animal houses, two of which were designed for hedgehogs.
The students won the competition, and the next stage is to actually place different animal shelters across the University’s 433-acre campus to support wildlife.
Academic lead Dr Robert Schmidt III commented: This is a victory story for our students, but it’s also a great example of our students engaging with the campus ecosystem and having a positive impact.