Becoming a hedgehog friendly campus

This Hedgehog Awareness Week, London Met is seeking Student Hedgehog Ambassadors to help promote a hedgehog friendly habitat at the University.

Date: 05 May 2021

London Met has signed up for the Hedgehog Friendly Campus project to help to increase the UK hedgehog population and improve biodiversity on the Holloway Road campus. 

Hedgehog Friendly Campus began at Sheffield University in 2018 and there are now almost 100 universities taking part in the scheme across the UK.

The project manager, Jo Wilkinson, said "Hedgehogs have declined by up to 50% in the UK since just the year 2000. They are now vulnerable to extinction in Britain. Campuses, whether they’re urban or rural, can do big things to help hedgehogs.”

Hedgehogs have declined around 50% in rural areas and 30% in urban areas since just the year 2000 and they rely on connected green spaces. The way the University manages its green space can have a big impact on creating the right habitat as well as the survival of hedgehogs, for example strimming and planting the right sort of plants. Being part of the campaign also allows students and staff to get involved in various activities such as hedgehog surveys and building hedgehog houses as well as litter picking, fundraising events and writing blogs about the wildlife to raise awareness.

Zanda Pipira, Sustainability Officer at the University, will be leading this project alongside students and staff and will drive forward the accreditation that closes in December 2021.

Zanda said, "London Met is committed to the principles of environmental protection and taking part in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus project supports our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and is in line with supporting the Sustainable Development Goal 15 – Life on Land.

"We recognise that our operations have the potential impact on biodiversity both directly and indirectly and that we have a responsibility to manage these impacts. Running this project will not only help our campus be more hog friendly but also provide the right habitat for other species like amphibians and a wide range of pollinators."

The student lead on the project is Ryoma Deiss who is a postgraduate in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability and a member of Climate Justice society.

Ryoma said, "Everyone talks as if they care about endangered species, but hardly anyone goes out of their way to actually help. I believe that we all have a responsibility to create a world where we can all live in harmony by taking care of each other and other species.

"I have always loved animals, so when I first heard about the Hedgehog Friendly Campus project, I thought it would be inspiring to take part. Given that the British hedgehog is officially listed as endangered species, my aim is to help create a Hedgehog Friendly Campus at London Met to protect hedgehogs from extinction."

As part of the project Sustainability Team is looking for Student Hedgehog Ambassadors to join the Working Group. You'll be helping to make decisions about how the campaign is run and getting stuck in to make Hedgehog Friendly Campus a reality at the university. They're looking for students who can commit around two hours per month to the campaign. Ambassadors receive a free starter pack, logo, certificate and CV reference from Hedgehog Friendly Campus and get access to free training sessions and talks. If you would like to take part in our university, get in touch

Hedgehog Awareness Week

This week also marks the national Hedgehog Awareness Week (2-8 May) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society is asking people to create their very own hedgehog haven. Tips will be given out on the charity’s social media accounts during the week using #hedgehogweek with daily competitions to win hedgehoggy prizes.

You can act now to find out some of the things you can do in your garden to help your local hogs by following some of the actions on this list:

  1. Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden. Not only can these harm hedgehogs but also damage their food chain. Use organic methods instead.
  2. Ensure boundary fences or walls have a 13cm x 13cm gap in the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
  3. Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for all wildlife, and food such as hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits for hedgehogs, especially during long dry spells.
  4. Make or buy a hedgehog home, this offers a hibernation site safe from predators in the winter. It may also be used as a nesting box for a mother and her hoglets in the warmer months.
  5. Check areas thoroughly for hedgehogs and other wildlife before strimming or mowing.
  6. Do not litter. Dispose of your rubbish responsibly
  7. Beware – bonfires offer a tempting home for a hedgehog. Re-site or check your bonfire before lighting
  8. Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can become trapped in ponds or pools with sheer sides. Keep water levels topped up, provide a gently sloping edge if possible or place half-submerged rocks in the water as an escape for them.
  9. Cattle grids can be a problem, hedgehogs fall in and become trapped, a simple ramp placed in the grid will save lives.
  10. Finally, take care on the roads, hedgehogs are nocturnal so are often seen out at night. A hedgehog’s natural defence mechanism is to roll into a ball – this is no match for a motor vehicle.

If you want to find out more about hedgehogs and how to help then visit the Hedgehog Preservation Society website.

For more information about biodiversity at London Metropolitan University, visit the Student Zone.

Follow @GreenLondonMet on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to receive instant updates and news about the project.