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Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a nation wide initiative to make university campuses a safe space for hedgehogs to thrive- there are currently 95 universities involved. The initiative is an offshoot of the Hedgehog Preservation Society which was founded in 1982 with the mission to help and save hedgehogs in the UK. SCAN interviewed Holly Bassett from the Lancaster Hedgehog Friendly Campus group to learn more.
Last year the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group completed all the initiatives needed to gain the Bronze award which included building ‘hedgehog tunnels’ and recording the ‘footprints going through them’ to ‘camera traps to film the hedgehogs’. This year the group aim to be the first university to gain the silver award. Some of the initiatives which have already been completed include making sure that Lancaster University ‘maintains the environment on campus’ which includes having ‘log piles and planting flowers. Holly was keen to emphasise the help which Atree Ghosh (VP Union Development) has been able to give the group.
One of the difficulties facing the group has been the fact that they are not a society which means Holly wasn’t ‘able to advertise at the start of the year’. Holly said that ‘more members would be good’ and that they could do with ‘some members in first year’. Currently the group has around ten members and a few more could make a big difference. Holly was confident that a lot of the gold award initiatives ‘are definitely doable next year’. One of the perks of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group, aside from helping the hedgehogs and preserving the ecosystem, is that the ‘Hedgehog Preservation Society do give you a reference when you leave’- an added bonus for CVs!
Hedgehogs have been seen in many areas around Lancaster, Holly has seen them ‘around Williamson Park’ and they have ‘had them recorded on campus before’. The Hedgehog Friendly Campus group doesn’t just look after the local hedgehog population but does work ‘as a general conservation group maintaining the ecosystem’ too. Next year one of the initiatives to gain the gold award will be some coordination with groups at other universities! The group also works with ‘Green Lancaster’, an initiative run by the students union to spread sustainability practices and to encourage sustainable behaviour.
Conservation work and helping animals in need has never been more important than this year and every successive year going forward. The planet is facing ecological collapse on an unprecedented scale. By helping the hedgehogs of Lancaster and maintaining our local ecosystems you’ll be doing your bit to make our corner of the world a little greener. Hedgehog Friendly Campus has a Facebook page which you can check out and the Hedgehog Preservation Society has an informative website that can give you any more details you need to get involved! Help those hedgehogs.