Making a Point: College Event Raises Awareness of Hedgehog Conservation Efforts
Dearne Valley College had the pleasure of hosting its first-ever Hedgehog Conservation Event. Held in partnership with Nature Recovery Rotherham. The event was attended by over 100 members of the public as well as local charities including RSPB Old Moor, Ecclesfield Hedgehog Friendly Parish and the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.
The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the issues and impact that modern living has on the spikey scurriers. Due to the ever-growing need for housing developments across the UK, the hedgehog’s natural habitat is being threatened. As well as the threat to their habitat, hedgehogs are also at risk from the road network, with over 350,000 hedgehogs estimated to be killed on Britain’s roads each year.
Community Engagement Officer Jonny Newhouse, representing RSPB Old Moor at the event, spoke about how great it is to be working with the College and how he’s looking forward to a continued partnership in the future.
He said: “This whole event is a great way to encourage people to do their bit to give wildlife a home in their gardens, such as creating and developing those bigger spaces for nature and the local wildlife.”
RSPB and their mascot, Ingrid De Igel the hedgehog (named after the German word for hedgehog: Igel), were joined in attendance by Gracie Adams, Gracie works as a Research Technician at the University of Sheffield.
As well as giving an interesting and inspiring talk on ‘How to Make Your Garden More Hedgehog Friendly’ Gracie spoke about what the University has done to make improvements across the campus and in the local area as part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign.
Gracie said: “Through implementing simple, hedgehog friendly environments, such as hedgehog highways, which enable them to travel safely through gardens at night and massively reduces the risk for car-related injuries, everyone can help make a difference.
“With hedgehogs travelling roughly one mile during the night, a simple, hedgehog-sized hole in your garden fence can truly help the creatures.”
The Hedgehog Conservation event was a collaborative effort between Dearne Valley College’s own Animal Care Tutor – Lucy Turner and the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. Lucy is heading up the College’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign and has a few ideas in mind of what she would like to see to make the College more hedgehog friendly.
Lucy said: “As part of the wildlife and ecology units on the Animal Management course, the students will be investigating whether we have hedgehogs on the campus grounds, as there have been recorded sightings on the Big Hedgehog Map.
“In the next stage of our Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative, we plan to set up footprint tunnels, as well as bug hotels and feeding stations, to encourage the hedgehogs into the area if they’re not already here. We’re also looking into the possibility of getting some wildlife cameras set up around the campus with a live feed. We’ve also been busy creating a new wildlife garden and pond, log piles, anything we can do to make the campus more hedgehog friendly.”
Assistant Principal for Dearne Valley College, Cheryl Martin, commented on the success of the event.
Cheryl said: “Dearne Valley College sits at the heart of the Dearne Valley community and it was fantastic for us to be able to host this event and welcome so many members of the community, local businesses and charities to listen to the talks, participate in the activities and see what an amazing place the college is.”
“We certainly look forward to hosting more community events like this in the future.”