Durham’s Hedgehog Campaign wins National Litter Pick Challenge – Palatinate
By Tiffany Chan
Durham University’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign was recently announced as the winner of the national Big Hog-Friendly Litter Pick Challenge, in which 26 teams participated.
The 31-person Durham team has collected a total of 105 bags of litter and will receive a hedgehog house and food as a reward.
The university’s Hedgehog Friendly campaign said Palatinate that the Big Hog-Friendly Litter Choice was a group litter-picking challenge that took place from the 20e September to 29e November. The campaign involved people from all parts of Durham, including “staff, students and community members”.
Participating groups were to take photos of the bags of trash they collected, which were then compiled and counted by the National Hedgehog Friendly Campus Team. With 105 sacks, the Durham campaign not only won the varsity round by more than 20 sacks, but also had the most sacks of all other categories. These results are available on the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Twitter and Facebook pages.
The first place prize includes a British Hedgehog Preservation Society hedgehog house and Durham Campus hedgehog food. The team has revealed that they will identify the best space for a hedgehog house during the break, the location to be unveiled next quarter.
Durham Hedgehog Friendly Campaign founder, “Hedgehog Friendly Champion” Nikki Rutters, saw another award from her participation: “One of the best things about participating in a national competition like the Big Litter Pick is seeing what other universities are doing, and with all the work in progress; the hedgehogs are the real winners.
Durham University’s Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign was established in March 2020. According to Rutters, its membership is drawn from staff and student volunteers, Greenspace DU, “and a growing community network” in addition to leadership and management teams.
To raise awareness about hedgehog preservation, the team held events such as baking, first aid training for hedgehogs, fundraisers and campus surveys. Rutters said that although the team faced challenges during the pandemic, “I have loved working with others with the whole university community to support the hedgehogs and the work we have done with the local community in terms of training and activities. ” Her favorite activity so far has been baking, during which bakers donated appetizers to the Hedgehog Preservation Society.
The campaign has been instrumental in improving the Durham community’s knowledge of hedgehogs and their relationship to the local environment. The team conducted a comprehensive study of the university campus using hedgehog tunnels this year, in which they found a “rich population” of hedgehogs, including “several nesting sites.”
Rutter said: “It is important that we continue this work due to the increasing decline in the number of hedgehogs nationwide. “
The 2018 State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report on UK hedgehog population trends – the only report to do so – said the past decade has witnessed the loss of more than half of rural hedgehogs and a third of cities and towns.
Students interested in joining the Durham Hedgehog conservation effort should contact the Durham Hedgehog Friendly Student Volunteer Team at [email protected] Upcoming events are posted on the campaign’s social media pages, such as the friendly hedgehog bakes until 31st December; applications should be submitted to [email protected]
Image: Nikki Rutters via Durham University’s Hedgehog Friendly Campaign