The University of Liverpool has recently been awarded gold accreditation in the national Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme. The gold award, which follows earlier bronze and silver accreditations, recognises the completion of a number of practical and awareness-raising activities designed to provide long term improvements for the wellbeing of our prickly pals.
In order to win gold, Liverpool’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project Group – comprising staff and student volunteers from across the University – completed a number of fundraising and community engagement activities, including undertaking a hedgehog survey with children at a local nursery.
As part of the awareness raising campaign, a short film explaining the plight of hedgehogs and what has been achieved to date at Liverpool was produced. This has also been used by the group to present its work to colleagues at other UK universities to support their progression through the scheme.
The rescue of poorly hedgehogs remains the cental activity, and one recent patient, Arthur (pictured above), quickly became a favourite amongst volunteers. Named after Arthur K Bulley, founder of Ness Botanic Gardens, he was handed in having been orphaned on the road. After treatment at a local hedgehog rescue centre, Arthur was released on the Leahurst Campus to join the thriving hedgehog population.
The gold accreditation marks the next step on the University of Liverpool’s work supporting hedgehogs, but the work very much continues! The group will be meeting soon to discuss how to encourage more volunteers to take part so that its valuable work can continue.
Zoë Chapman, Business Manager at Ness Botanic Gardens and Hedgehog Champion said “By gaining our gold accreditation we have consolidated three years of hard work and dedication by undertaking activity that will provide long term benefits to hedgehogs and other wildlife. We are looking forward to continuing this work to provide a real legacy.”
Syd Cottle, Director of Estates Management said “The University of Liverpool has a diverse range of habitats across its campuses, and there is great scope to make our estate and our working practices even more hedgehog and wildlife friendly. We look forward to working with the project group to further build on what has already been accomplished”
Early in February 2022, the national Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme announced the nominees for the Volunteer of the Year award. Due to the high standard of nominees, the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme decided to give out two awards, one to the University of Liverpool’s Zoë Chapman and one to Alexandra Foxley-Johnson, based at the University of Lincoln, reflecting their hard work and dedicating in helping hedgehogs.
Hedgehog Friendly Campus Scheme
Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national accreditation scheme, funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, which aims to make university campuses a safer place for wild hedgehogs. The scheme was founded at the University of Sheffield in September 2018, and launched as a national campaign in 2019, Projects are currently taking place in at Birmingham, Lancaster, Lincoln, Winchester amongst other universities.
The Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme aims to raise awareness of the plight of hedgehog, while taking practical steps to improve habitats and circumstances for hedgehogs across university campuses. The Hedgehog Friendly Campus project is funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and runs nationally.
Since 2000, the number of hedgehogs in rural areas has plummeted by as much as 50% and in urban gardens by 30%. There are perhaps just a million hedgehogs left, representing a 97% fall from the 30 million estimated to have roamed the UK in the 1950s.
This decline has been in part attributed to the fragmentation of hedgehog’s favourite habitat with the loss of hedgerows and familiar countryside habitats, leading hedgehogs to move into more urban environments where litter, busy roads and impermeable garden fencing and walls, significantly impact on their survival.
To get involved or to find out more, please contact the University of Liverpool’s Hedgehog Champion, Zoë Chapman by emailing ZChapman@liverpool.ac.uk.