Celebrating Staffordshire University's Hedgehog Friendly Campus Bronze accreditation
Coinciding with our call to students in a previous news article and, less than 7 months ago, Jess Caldwell approached the Students’ Union wishing to create a student group dedicated to creating a Hedgehog Friendly Campus; a new society was born and through the determination of Jess and her fellow student members, the society have run events, raised both money & awareness and achieved formal accreditation for their work and in doing so Staffordshire University recently received bronze accreditation status by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
We chatted to Jess about how this started and what accreditation means for our student community…
What is Hedgehog Friendly Campus (HFC)?
Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national programme funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). It aims to recognise and award UK primary schools, colleges and universities that modify their campus to improve the habitability for European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), to combat the declining hedgehog populations.
Those participating progress through bronze, silver, and gold levels by completing a choice of actions.
How and why did you get involved?
During the third year of my Biological Science studies, I focused my dissertation on recommending habitat improvements for European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in my hometown, and I’ve never stopped talking about hedgehogs since.
My supervisor Dr Eleanor Atkins mentioned the Hedgehog Friendly Campus (HFC) accreditation scheme in a planning meeting. We discussed using hotdogs to attract hedgehogs to footprint tunnels at the time! After that I read up about the scheme, saw that Staffordshire University wasn’t involved and went for it!
I’m very pleased at where we’re at now but I’m already aiming for the silver accreditation.
What activities did you do to achieve the award?
To achieve the bronze accreditation, we implemented a variety of actions across the campus including:
- A hedgehog home (amazingly named Hedgehog Quarters) on campus, across from the Sir Stanley Matthew Sports Centre
- A bug hotel on campus – the Wild Staffs project implemented 2
- Hedgehog surveys – hedgehogs have been detected on campus!
- Participating in the Big Hog-Friendly Litter Pick Challenge (we collected 28 bags total)
- Fundraised for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
- Placed hedgehog awareness posters around campus, including in the groundskeeping staff room.
- Checked for warning labels on groundskeeping equipment to check for hedgehogs before undertaking work.
- Regularly updating social media with hedgehog facts, updates on the campaign and interacting with other universities about the campaign.
What do you think this award means to the university and its students?
Staffordshire University is committed to becoming a more sustainable university and reducing our environmental impact.
It helps the ‘university’s goal of achieving major changes in environmental sustainability through research, innovation and enterprise and student and civic engagement.’ The award, especially being driven by students and attracting hedgehogs to our campus, really contributes to this goal.
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We are always looking for new student members to join the HFC society and need a committee to lead the group going forward to continue the great work that Jess and her team have started and to lead us towards the next silver and gold awards.
You can find out more about the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Society here, or email the Students' Union at StudentEngagement@staffs.ac.uk