We’ve been awarded a bronze accreditation for our efforts to make campus more hedgehog friendly.

Over the last year, a team of staff and students at the University of Sheffield have been working on supporting hedgehogs on campus. These efforts are part of the national Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign which originated here at the University of Sheffield. The scheme provides a framework for staff and students to support hedgehog habitats and fundraise for hedgehog charities. 

Hedgehogs numbers are indicative of the decline in wildlife in Britain. It is estimated that, since the turn of the century, hedgehog numbers have declined by up to a half. In the main, these reductions are due to the increasing pressure on hedgehog habitats including increased urbanisation and road building. 

Universities, as key anchor institutions in many cities, cover a significant footprint of land which they can use to support local wildlife habitats. We know that by supporting hedgehogs we will have a number of further benefits for small mammals and the wider ecosystem.   

Despite the campaign starting in Sheffield, our team began afresh in 2019. We found that large numbers of staff and students are passionate about wildlife conservation and a wide range of volunteers engaged with our campaign, from first-year students just months into their university experience to long-term staff members.  

Highlights of the year include a brilliant hedgehog survey around Weston park and the Endcliffe and Ranmoor student villages. This provided useful data for the campaign and we updated our sightings on the big hedgehog map. This can support the University and the local council in understanding the importance of areas as habitats for hedgehogs.

Student members contributed to bake sales and awareness raising of the plight of hedgehogs in Britain, whilst regular staff and student litter picks took place across campus. The group have worked with the University’s landscaping team on placing warning stickers on strimmers to make sure that areas are checked for hedgehog activity before strimming takes place. 

Together, these actions can make a small but significant difference to the welfare of hedgehogs in Sheffield. Our campaign will now look at new ways in which we can support hedgehogs. This will include building hedgehog houses across campus, creating hedgehog highways and working with the local council to scale up the team’s efforts. 

Sheffield Hedgehog Friendly campus is always looking for more interested staff and student members to get involved. Please follow our Facebook page and get contact with j.beckford@sheffield.ac.uk in order to be added to our mailing list. The first meeting of the new year will be held on Friday the 31st of January. We would love to meet you and hear your ideas for making campus more hedgehog friendly!