Sunday 3 May marks the beginning of Hedgehog Awareness Week – and we are delighted to reveal the University of Northampton has been recognised for its conservation work at Waterside campus.
The University has been awarded a Hedgehog Friendly Campus bronze certificate as part of a national accreditation scheme funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. The scheme raises awareness of the plight of hedgehogs and encourages universities to consider their habitats while maintaining campus grounds.
Second year Computer Games Development student, Freya Smith, formed a Hedgehog Squad after watching a video about the decline of the species.
She said: “I wanted to do something to try and help the hedgehogs and thought the award scheme and initiatives would be something that students would find fun, so I formed the UON Hedgehog Squad.”
The Bronze Award has meant that the Hedgehog Squad has worked closely with teams around the University, especially the Grounds team, to ensure staff are cautious when strimming the campus and are more mindful of hedgehogs that may be living and hibernating at Waterside.
Through this project, areas have been found to be hedgehog hotspots, including those around the Engine Shed, home of the Students’ Union.
Pictured from left, Katy Baker from the Students’ Union, Grounds team members Reece Myrie and Aidan Reilly, and student Freya Smith.
Speaking of the bronze award and the team’s efforts, Freya said “I’ve enjoyed collaborating with staff and students that were also passionate about the cause, and knowing that our actions will have a positive impact on the wildlife on campus, especially hedgehogs, has been really rewarding.”
Working on achieving the Hedgehog Bronze Award has helped Freya develop her project management skills: “From the project, I have learnt leadership skills such as leading a group to achieve the goal of completing at least 10 different bronze-level objectives. I also learnt the importance of networking, as I connected with members of staff with specialist skills, such as experience running a social media page and expertise in wildlife and conservation.”
Katy Baker Vice President for Welfare from the Students’ Union said: “It has been really good to get involved in this project, not only to be part of a project to help the environment and its animals but also seeing the student’s progression, interest and commitment throughout.
“Student-led campaigns and projects are really important to support and we hope to continue with this award in the next couple of years.”
Janet Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Management, who is a member of the University’s Project Awesome campus ecology group, said: “I am really proud that Project Awesome was able to support the UON Hedgehog Squad in developing activities that have led to the University achieving the bronze award. I am really looking forward to planning and achieving silver and gold.”
You can get involved and show your support through the UON Hedgehog Squad Facebook page.