From 3rd-9th May, we took part in celebrating Hedgehog Awareness Week, a campaign run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to raise the profile of hedgehogs and their declining numbers, due to multiple threats and changes to their environment. Hedgehogs are of particular importance and interest, as they are classed as an indicator species, which means that the health of this species reflects the health of the wider ecosystem – a struggling hedgehog population reflects an equally struggling environment. Therefore by taking measures to protect and support our spiky friends we are also taking steps to help the wider environment.

Our Hedgehog Friendly Campus (HFC) group members put their heads together to decide what sort of things we’d like to do across the campus to celebrate Hedgehog Awareness Week. With the current situation, it meant we had to move our ideas to an online format, but we were able to adapt and make it a really successful week.

In the week leading up to Hedgehog Awareness Week, we created our HFC website which features a range of activities suitable for all ages, including educational resources, fun crafts and outdoor activities. We also created informational resources on how to make your gardens hedgehog-friendly and top tips for supporting hedgehogs in your area. These feature alongside wider information from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

We were really pleased to be able to share our new website and our resources with the wider community, including Sheffield Litter Pickers, local residents living near the University, the University’s IMPACT programme and the following local schools: St Wilfrid’s Primary School, Totley All Saints Primary, Woodseats Primary School, Porter Croft Church of England Primary Academy, St Joseph’s Primary School, Kiverton Park Meadows, Sacred Heart School and Dinnington High School. We received really positive feedback from the engagement we had with these schools.

“Wow! This is amazing! So many things to do! Activities are brilliant!”

Gosha Khalil, Y6 Teacher at Woodseats Primary.

“The hedgehog friendly campus resources look amazing and I am sure our children will love them.”

Neil Pacheco, Primary Teacher at Kiveton Park Meadows.

Throughout Hedgehog Awareness Week, we organised a social media campaign, sharing hedgehog-related content including advice, information, activity ideas, HFC news and most importantly, our virtual hedgehog baking competition, with guest judge Rahul Mandal! We hosted this week-long competition to help engage the Sheffield community of all ages in a fun way, especially with the current trend for baking! We had a fantastic response to the competition, with a total of 35 entries. Rahul had a really difficult decision to make with the bar set very high. It was really exciting to announce Tabitha Goulty as our official winner, with her very impressive hedgehog baked alaska!

From everyone in our HFC group, we’d like to thank all those who got involved in Hedgehog Awareness Week in some way or another. The importance of protecting hedgehogs goes beyond the week of awareness, and there are lots of ways you can continue to support hedgehogs in your local area. For more information and ideas, visit our HFC website.